There is realistically no chance of either side making the semi-final, to the extent that this needn’t be a talking point. This match is, for all intents and purposes, a dead rubber. But both sides would want to hold their heads up that little bit higher at the end of their campaign.
Pakistan did win four important games against top opponents but a crushing opening defeat against West Indies mean they have an inferior net run rate to New Zealand, for which they will pay the price even if they beat Bangladesh. Pakistan’s performance has been difficult to read throughout. They started with that shocking defeat at the hands of West Indies. Following that, they were hit and miss, but damaging defeats to Australia and India meant they needed assistance from other results much too early in the tournament. That luck ran out with England completing two wins at the end to guarantee their own progress, quashing Pakistan’s flickering hopes in the process.
Their only chance to make it into the semi-final is to bat first and win the contest by a margin of at least 316 runs, a feat never before achieved in ODI cricket. If Bangladesh win the toss and bat, Pakistan are out before a ball has been bowled.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, have had an excellent World Cup, never quite being blown away by any side, and claiming the scalps of several fancied teams. Eliminated now, the task at hand will be to finish off with a win against Pakistan, which will give them four wins out of eight completed matches, and ensure they finish as the best of the rest – the highest-placed team not to make the semi-finals. Their batting has centred on the brilliance of Shakib Al Hasan’s purple patch. He is the second leading run-scorer so far with 542 runs at 90.33 at a strike rate of 100.30 against pacers and 91.50 versus spinners. He is the only allrounder to get both 1000 runs and over 30 wickets in World Cups. No other Bangladesh player has even completed one of those feats.
It is the pacers who have let Bangladesh down in the tournament somewhat. The Bangladesh quicks have picked up only two wickets in the 79 overs they have bowled in the competition inside the first 20 overs. Mustafizur Rahman is the best in the lot taking 15 wickets in the tournament, but none of them have come in the first 15 overs. The batting has helped the side along but, with their World Cup campaign set to end, the question is whether their bowling can complement that effort.
Bangladesh LWLWL (Last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
In six out of seven innings at this World Cup, Mohammad Hafeez has been caught out. Several of these dismissals have been soft, cheap ones, and on two occasions he was dismissed by Aaron Finch and Kane Williamson. The 38-year-old batsman started his ODI career in 2003 and has gone on to play play 217 ODIs with a batting average of 32.93. Originally an opener, his batting position has been a matter of debate and scrutiny for many years now and he has found himself dropped down the order. With Shoaib Malik out of the side, Hafeez is the senior-most player, and has been given a long run at the No. 4 spot. He did well there with a match-winning 84 against England, but since that innings he has been dismissed three times under 30. In what could be his swansong, he will look to leave with a favourable impression.
The Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza needs to lead his bowling attack from the front. Only one wicket in seven matches is a major concern for a bowler who had taken 265 wickets in 209 matches before the start of 2019 World Cup – the highest wicket-taker and most capped player of his side. In the death overs, his economy is 13.80 and he is one of six bowlers (to have bowled a minimum of 20 overs) who average above 50 and have conceded more than six runs per over this World Cup. Bangladesh need a lift, and in what is probably Mashrafe’s last match at a World Cup, this is the chance to go out on a high note.
Mushfiqur Rahim got struck on the elbow during a nets session on Thursday, but there is no big threat yet. “I’ve had no chance to see the physio yet. Generally, that sort of area most people are okay,” their coach Steve Rhodes said. “I don’t remember too many people breaking elbows or forearm of the bottom hand. So I’m hoping that he’ll be okay.”
Otherwise, Mahmudullah is likely to return after recovering from his calf injury, which means Sabbir Rahman will have to make way despite a run-a-ball 36 against India. Rubel Hossain should play again, which means Mehidy Hasan could be confined to the bench once more.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Liton Das, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Rubel Hossain, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Wahab Riaz picked up a minor hand injury in a fielding session before the Afghanistan game. He was cleared to play that game, but now with this match set to be a dead rubber, Pakistan may decide to give him a rest. Mohammad Hasnain, who has not featured at all this World Cup, could be allowed a game for an experience that Pakistan will hope will serve them well in the years to come.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Haris Sohail, 6 Sarfaraz Ahmed (capt & wk), 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Shadab Khan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Wahab Riaz/Mohammad Hasnain, 11 Shaheen Afridi
Pakistan must look to add Asif Ali for the final game. He might have struggled in England, averaging 26, but his strike rate is still the best among Pakistan players – 126.80 in seven games he has played. He was dropped after two games but with him in the playing XI, Pakistan can score big. It is, faint though it might be, the only chance they have of inflicting a big defeat against Bangladesh that can push up their net run rate.
Bangladesh should bowl Shakib intensively in the first 20 overs, where he has taken four wickets in 28 overs while his team-mates have managed only three wickets put together. During the first 20 overs in this World Cup, Bangladesh have taken the fewest wickets (seven), at the worst average and economy rate – 106.7 and 5.30 respectively. They have picked just 13% of their wickets inside the first 20 overs, the lowest for a team this edition, and there’s no time they need Shakib more.
Pitch and conditions
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) July 4, 2019
The pitch to be played on for this game was used for the Pakistan-South Africa clash, which was more than 10 days ago. That should give the track, which had a strong green tinge, some freshness. Weather is not expected to play spoilsport, although it’s likely to be hot and sunny, like it has been in London this week.
Stats and trivia
Mustafizur Rahman needs two more for 100 wickets in ODIs.
Imam-ul-Haq has gone eight innings without an ODI hundred. Should he fail to reach three figures at Lord’s on Friday, it would be the longest he has ever gone without a century.
Bangladesh have taken 46% of their wickets at the death, the most by a team in this edition. However, those wickets have come at a cost. From overs 41-50, Bangladesh have the second worst economy rate (8.50) and the worst balls-per-boundary ratio (6.3) in this World Cup.
“A few of the [Bangladesh players] went straight out onto the dressing room balcony and looked at the marvellous scene in front of them with a beautiful carpet of grass and big stands everywhere, and they were taking it all in.”
Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes on the excitement of the younger players coming to Lord’s for the first time.
“Pakistan did lose the last four matches [against Bangladesh], but it is a World Cup match. So both teams look stronger, so hopefully we will do well as a team.”
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed on their record against Bangladesh since 2015.