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Pak, B'desh on guard before AC opener

Associated Press
Mar 10, 2012 at 07:00pm IST

Dhaka: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Saturday warned his team-mates about the stiff challenge posed by Bangladesh ahead of their clash in the opening match of the Asia Cup on Sunday.

He said his side would not make the mistake of taking Bangladesh lightly despite Pakistan's nearly perfect record against the hosts. Of the 29 matches between the sides, Pakistan has lost just one, an ODI at the 1999 World Cup.

"We don't want to commit that mistake. Bangladesh is a difficult opposition at home because they know the condition very well," Misbah said. "On their day they can upset you, so we will not take them lightly. We have to put in our hundred per cent; we really have to come out hard to win the game."

Pak, B'desh on guard before Asia Cup opener

"Bangladesh is a difficult opposition at home," said Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.

He added that new Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore, a former Bangladesh coach, should be able to provide the tourists with details about the opposition and the local conditions.

"He is already contributing, and of course he can give some input about the Bangladeshi players," Misbah said. "But I think we are playing lots of cricket against Bangladesh, we played a series against them here in Dhaka. So we are quite familiar with them.

"Both the teams know each other well, both the teams know strengths and weaknesses of each other."

He added that Pakistan will pay particular attention to Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan.

"Shakib is a key player, so we are focusing on him. But we are also focusing on other players as well," he said.

Meanwhile, Shakib said dealing with Pakistan's spin attack would be the key challenge for Bangladesh.

"Handling Pakistan's spin attack is vital for us, and moreover their fast bowling unit is also good. I think they have the best bowling unit of all the teams playing this tournament," Shakib said.

Despite Bangladesh's inconsistent performance against top teams, Shakib said the hosts will aim to win every match at the tournament.

The Asia Cup also involves India and Sri Lanka.

Although Bangladesh were whitewashed in their bilateral series against Pakistan earlier this year, Shakib remained confident of his side's chances.

"We have the ability to bowl well against any big side in the world. We will play every game to win," he said. "We did not perform well in the last series we played against Pakistan, but this is a different tournament and we are preparing well."

Shakib said Bangladesh could not practice much as a team before the Asia Cup, "but we have been playing domestic cricket so the guys are confident."

India have won the Asia Cup five times while Sri Lanka have won it four times. Pakistan have won it once.

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