Pakistan retains top T20 ranking after washout vs Bangladesh

RIZWAN ALI
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Pakistan Cricket Bangladesh

Ground staff cover a pitch during a light rain at Gaddafi stadium, in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. Pakistan and Bangladesh are scheduled to play the last T20 which is delayed due to rain in Lahore. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan retained its No. 1 ranking in the Twenty20 format after rain washed out the third and final match of the series against Bangladesh on Monday.

Rain arrived an hour before the scheduled toss at 1.30 p.m. local time (0830 GMT) before umpires called off the play at 3.55 p.m. local time, to the disappointment of around 5,000 fans at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan clinched the series 2-0 after beating world No. 9 ranked Bangladesh by five wickets and nine wickets, respectively.

Bangladesh's batsmen struggled in the absence of banned Shakib Al Hasan as well as wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who opted out of the tour because of security concerns.

“Result-wise, we are probably disappointed,” Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said.

“As a captain, I wanted to give a better performance, a better show which we didn’t do. The talent was there, the skill was there, but I think we didn’t execute our skills good enough and they were better than us, obviously.”

The No. 1 ranking, which Pakistan earned in January 2018, was under threat after the team lost eight of its nine T20s in 2019, but the recall of veteran batsmen Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez strengthened the batting line-up. Malik scored an unbeaten 58 in the first match, while Hafeez remained not out on 67 in the second game in two easy run-chases.

A 3-0 loss at home and a 2-0 defeat in Australia forced Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq to recall ageing Hafeez and Malik after Pakistan batsmen struggled in the shortest format.

“We checked the resources against Sri Lanka and Australia, but after that we realized we needed experience in the team,” Misbah said. “The experience (of Malik and Hafeez) came to our use and I believe the doors are not closed for any player. Form and fitness are important, and they both are in good form and are also fit.”

Bangladesh will return to Pakistan next month for the first test, as part of the ICC World Test Championship, after agreeing to split the T20 series and two test matches into three phases.

The officials of both the national cricket boards reached consensus in Dubai this month during a meeting facilitated by International Cricket Council chairman Shashank Manohar.

The first test will be played in Rawalpindi from Feb. 7-11. After a break of almost two months, Bangladesh will play an ODI and the second test in Karachi from April 3-9.

Late last year, Sri Lanka also split its tour to Pakistan into two phases when it played a T20 series in Lahore then returned in December for two test matches in Rawalpindi and Karachi, staying in Pakistan for 16 days.

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