Pakistan survived a scare before pulling off a 21-run victory over a
spirited Bangladesh in the thrilling opening match of Asia Cup, on Sunday.
Chasing 263 to win, Bangladesh were reeling at 135 for five at one stage
but Shakib-al Hasan (64) and Nasir Hossain (47) raised hopes of a stunning
win with their 89-run stand for the sixth wicket.
However, the hosts lacked the batting firepower in the end to be all out
for 241 in 48.1 overs, at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
Nevertheless, the hosts gave a good account of themselves and served a
warning to other teams that they cannot be taken lightly.
Shakib and Nasir were going great guns as the team needed 68 off the last
10 overs, but Pakistan paceman Umar Gul (three for 58) broke the
partnership by bowling Nasir in the 44th over, after conceding two
Shakib was still fighting from one end but ran short of partners. Shakib
was the last man out, bowled by Gul in the first ball of the 49th over.
Earlier, Pakistan scored 262 for eight after Mohammed Hafeez top-scored
with a patient 89 and shared a 135-run stand with fellow opener Nasir
Apart from Hafeez and Jamshed's brilliant batting, it was Gul's strokeful
unbeaten 39 towards the end that lifted Pakistan to a respectable total.
Shahdat Hossain (three for 53) and Shakib (two for 41) shared five wickets
between them to help Bangladesh restrict Pakistan, who were scoring
briskly till the 30th over.
rode on the spin trio of Hafeez (two for 40), Saeed Ajmal (two for 45) and
Shahid Afridi (two for 49), to open their campaign with a win.
Bangladesh's chase was guided by opener Tamim Iqbal's crafty 64, but the
hosts could not make the best use of his innings. Iqbal, along with opener
Nazimuddin (30) and Jahurul Islam (23) shared two 45-run stands each for
the first and second wickets.
Hafeez struck twice in two balls in the 29th over as he bowled Iqbal in
the third ball and then trapped Mahmudullah in the next to reduce
Bangladesh to 135 for five.
Shakib then joined hands with Nasir to take the fight to Pakistan. They
made good use of the third Powerplay to set the tone for a close finish.
For Pakistan, Hafeez and Jamshed had laid the foundation by putting on 135
runs for the first wicket in just 28 overs, but Shahdat and Shakib struck
at crucial moments to help the hosts fight back into the match.
But Gul, somewhat, spoilt Bangladesh's plans with a brisk 39 off 25 balls.
Hoping that the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium would offer
some assistance to his seamers early on, Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur
Rahim elected to field after the coin landed in his favour.
Things, however, didn't pan out the way Mushfiqur had hoped as the two
openers gave Pakistan a perfect launchpad.