Pakistan 194 for 3 (Imam 78, Rizwan 63*, Shariful 1-24) Bangladesh 193 (Mushfiqur 64, Rauf 4-19, Naseem 3-34) for seven wickets
Harris Rauf Bowled six dominant overs full of fearsome pace, skiddy length and relentless accuracy to restrict Bangladesh to 193, which followed Imam-ul-Haq And Mohammad Rizwan The chase ended within 40 overs as Pakistan started their Super Four with a win. With this, Pakistan got two points and more importantly, a healthy net run rate.
Bangladesh’s innings began with Shaheen Shah Afridi hitting Mohammad Naim back-to-back on the first two balls – first around the outside edge, then inside – and Naseem Shah Mehdi Hasan chipped Miraz to square leg to start the second over. The last two wickets in four balls of the 39th over went to Naseem. In the middle, Bangladesh batsmen looked almost clueless with Rauf.
In a scary moment for Pakistan in the seventh over of Bangladesh’s innings, Naseem injured his right shoulder and walked off the field. This resulted in him diving to his left to run off his fine legs to pull the ball back from near the ropes.
So it took just three balls for Rauf to start the eighth over in place of Naseem. He bowled a hard length as he angled towards Naeem from around the wicket, as Naeem’s attempted pull resulted in a return catch at the top end by Rauf.
When it was bowled at 140kph, Rauf took it further and cleared Towhid Hriday to start the tenth over. It was like a dream ball: a perfect combination of good length and movement, right-hand angle at 145kph, the ball crashing straight through middle and off stump. The power play was not done either, and Bangladesh were 47 for 4.
What followed was a 100-run battle between the senior pair of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. Despite their troubled start, the first 44 runs came off just 61 balls.
Fortunately for Pakistan though, Naseem was back on the field by the time he returned to bowl the 18th over. But come the 20th over, some luck went Shakib’s way when, on 32: third ball, he pulled one just over the wicketkeeper and was dropped by Naseem two deliveries later, as the bowler failed to hold on to the leading edge. . Despite Nasim on his follow-through it was a relatively easy chance on his right.
Shakib got his fifty to start the 28th over, but just two overs later, he picked up a short ball from Faheem Ashraf at deep square leg. Mushfiqu then got his half-century in two balls and added 27 runs with Shamim Hossain quickly, but Bangladesh were bowled out for 193 from 174 for 5.
Two of those five wickets went to Rauf on successful deliveries in the 38th over. Mushfiqur bowled the second ball for 64 and Taskin Ahmed also tickled Rizwan. Nasim wrapped up the innings with the wickets of Afif Hossain and Shariful Islam.
Bangladesh’s bowlers also started defending strongly. Just 12 runs came from Imam and Fakhar Zaman in the first five overs, before a floodlight failure halted play for nearly 20 minutes. The break seems to work in favor of the batters. Fakhar pulled Shariful Islam for four before hitting three boundaries off Taskin in the seventh over.
But otherwise, Shariful mostly kept them quiet, even trapping Fakhar for 20 runs in the final over of the powerplay. Hasan Mahmood also tested the batters with his line. When Imam was on 16 in the 11th over, he convinced Shakib to review a not-out-lbw decision. Replays showed the ball was pitching outside leg, Bangladesh would get exactly the same verdict when Shakib reviewed another not out lbw call – this time to Taskin, with Imam on 23 in the 14th over.
Comparably making 26 off his first 38 balls, Imam then got a lucky boundary when Taskin was misfielded at fine leg, only to pull Mahmood beautifully for a six off the next ball. Two overs later, Babar inside-edged Taskin for 17 with one ball before Imam enjoyed more luck.
Given out lbw to Mehdi’s first ball – Bangladesh introduced spin late in the 19th over – Imam, by then on 39, reviewed and overturned it, the ball going down the leg side. Imam picked up his fifty by hitting a six over midwicket off Mehdi.
His innings of 78 had five fours and four sixes – he was eventually bowled by Mehdi – even as Rizwan, at the other end, remained unbeaten on a patient 63 from 79 balls despite hitting a four and a six in his first ten deliveries.
Pakistan’s next match is against India in Colombo as the Pakistan leg of the Asia Cup ends on Wednesday.