Bangladesh and Pakistan will engage in a virtual semifinal in the 2018 Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Ahead of the game, Bangladesh coach, Steve Rhodes has said that their team will be the underdogs going into the contest which is not a bad thing for his team.
“Pakistan, let's be honest, will be the favourites for this contest but that puts us in a nice position,” he said on the eve of the final Super Four encounter. “They know we are a dangerous team. To go into the game as a slight underdog, we can really make that work for us.”
“They (Pakistan) are tough but an unpredictable team. I am hoping they will have an off day. We don't know what Pakistan is going to turn up,” said Rhodes.
“They are playing with a little lack of confidence. But they are very dangerous team. On their day, they can really pull things together and play some good cricket. We are also a dangerous team. So, it will be a great contest.”
Rhodes also reflected on the fact that the absence of Tamim Iqbal in the top- order has been a concern for them throughout the tournament. However, with Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah performing well in the last game, their middle order looks to be sorted.
"Of course we’d love to get off to good starts. Every coach would want that. It doesn’t always happen. Sadly, Tamim breaking his finger in that first game was a big blow to us,” said Rhodes.
“We picked Shanto (Hossain) to take Tamim's place and give him an opportunity as a young man who has got a lot of talent, as a lot of Bangladeshi young batsmen have. And he's not quite done it yet, so his place will be looked at in selection. We'll go through the side this afternoon – (skipper) Mashrafe Mortaza, myself and the selectors – and we will be looking at all the team. I won’t be revealing any plans on the side. But of course, we’ll be looking at if it is a little bit of a concern.”
Keeping the travel and conditions in mind, Rhodes said it hasn't been easy for the team to get going. “The wicket in Abu Dhabi tends to be on the slow side. It might be a good thing and may make the ball come onto the bat nicely. It will be interesting to see if their pace will actually make the wicket play well for our batsmen," he said.
“It's been a tough schedule with lots of travel. Abu Dhabi is a long journey. We stay in the far-end of Dubai so perhaps that's an extra half-hour. The travel, as well as the conditions, has been difficult.”
The winner of this game will play India in the final on Friday in Dubai.
(Inputs from Cricketnext)