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No dew factor at opening venue

cricket Updated: Feb 16, 2011 00:29 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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The evening dew that had become a deciding factor for day-night matches at this time of the year at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium in the past has been missing. This means when India take on Bangladesh in the opening match of the World Cup here on Saturday, the dew factor is unlikely to play a pivotal role at the toss.

During their warm-up match against the hosts on Tuesday, the Pakistan bowlers, especially spinners Mohammad Hafeez, Abdur Rehman and skipper Shahid Afridi, did not seem to have a problem gripping the ball.

However Pakistan coach Waqar Younis warned that the ball will get slightly wet towards the end of proceedings. "There was a bit of dew in the last 15-20 overs. It wasn't much but then it could be a point of concern as the tournament progresses. So, good luck to the teams bowling second here."

The dew had made the toss very important when India played here early last year and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had even suggested that the matches begin two hours early.

But on Tuesday, in the only warm-up match at this ground before the tournament opener, Pakistan comfortably defended their score of 285 for nine. Once Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal was dismissed first ball and skipper Shakib Al Hasan lasted just 13 balls for his 11, few gave the hosts any chance.

Pakistan take a few positives. Both opener Ahmed Shehzad and Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq struck spledid centuries. But the remaining eight batsmen who contributed just 85 runs would definitely be a point of concern for Waqar.

The other thing was Umar Gul's form. The maverick medium-pacer sprayed around and bowled just four overs for 30 runs and it could hasten Shoaib Akhtar's appearance.

For Bangladesh though, fielding and batting remained a concern. Entry into the last-eight stage will depend on beating the associated members and at least one of the top teams. Coach Jamie Siddons' ploy of playing the experienced Mohammad Ashraful at No 6 did not pay off and losing wickets regularly meant they did not even get the opportunity to take the batting powerplay.

Brief scores: Pakistan 285/9 in 50 ovs (Ahmed Shehzad 103, Misbah-ul-Haq 100, Rubel Hossain 3/73) vs Bangladesh 196 in 41.4 ovs (Imrul Kayes 39). Pakistan won by 89 runs.