A honeymoon period for many of Pakistani cricketers finally comes to an end with this defeat in an all-important game against Bangladesh; To be honest they (Pakistan) wasn’t in their groove to play in this competition, they only played somehow better cricket against Hong Kong in their first game, after game one they outclassed by India twice and won a close encounter against Afghanistan. Pakistani batsmen were out of the shape and lacking attacking cricket from the ball one of their run-chase. Bangladesh batted fairly well and bowled brilliantly to restrict Pakistani batting line to 202 in their complete 50 overs and won the game by 37 to qualify for the final of the tournament against India on this Friday.
After winning the toss, Bangladesh decided to put a total on the board and tried to defend the total with Shakib out of the team as one bowler short in an all-important contest. Their top three couldn’t make an impact in the game and was out very cheaply at 12 for 3 on a brilliant bowling spell by Pakistani opening bowling attack, Junaid Khan and Shaheen picked up three quick wickets and made Bangladesh play on its back foot. Once again it was Mushfiq who gave their team some stability at the middle overs and well supported by Mohammad Mithun (60). Mushfiq became the first Bangladeshi batsman who became the victim of 99 and failed to make another hundred in the tournament. They were looking good and was marching towards 270 least, in 42nd over they lost the wicket of Mushfiq, Mehidy and Mahmudullah in a quick succession. Mahmudullah was their last hope to drive the team towards a match-winning total and somehow they got the success as their late order batsmen chipped in to drag team’s total to 239. Junaid who was making his comeback after a while took 4 wickets and bowled an economical spell as well; Shaheen and Hasan Ali also picked two wickets each.
At the halfway stage, fans and experts were giving green signals to Pakistan to play final against India in Dubai, but it wasn’t the case with Pakistani top order. Their ace opener Fakhar Zaman wasn’t performing well in this whole competition and failed once again tonight when he was trying to clear mid-on could only find Rubel who grabbed a brilliant catch. Bangladesh started their bowling with a spinner who provided them with a breakthrough straightaway in first over as Fakhar departed on only one run. In the next over Pakistan lost the wicket of Babar Azam who was trapped in front of the wickets on the bowling of Mustafizur on one run. Pakistani skipper was next to come and join Imam at the crease, could only make 10 runs and threw away his wicket when team was in need of him badly to post 50 plus score, In recent past the form of Sarfraz wasn’t helping him a lot and the reason he failed to perform with some responsibility in this tournament, which is making thing tough for him as critics started to raise fingers on him. Later on, Imam joined by Malik, the man who was giving some hope to the team’s middle order and performing brilliantly in the ongoing tournament, they both added 67 runs to the team’s total. Shoaib Malik (30) was trying to get boundary on the bowling of Rubel as ball was drifting towards his legs and he went for a shot which may earn him boundary but Bangladeshi skipper had some other thoughts he grabbed a brilliant catch (might be the catch of the tournament) ended Malik’s dream run in the tournament. Shadab (8) was promoted ahead of Asif Ali; he couldn’t leave any spark to the run-chase and loses his wicket when Pakistan was 94. Asif Ali joined Imam who was seeing his partners losing wickets at the other hand. They both game Pakistan a very good partnership, in-fact hopes of Pakistani fans were raised to win this game, hopes were scattered soon when both Asif (31) and Imam (83) lose their wickets in successive overs. Pakistani lower order never ever been that strong to complete the run-chase finished their innings 37 runs short. Mustafiz the FIZZ boy was their pick of the bowler who took four wickets, well supported by Mehidy, Mahmudullah, Sarkar and Rubel. Mahmudullah finished his spell of ten overs at 1 for 38; his spell performed the duty of Shakib who missed out the game due to injury.
Player of the Match: On his cool and calm innings when his team needed him badly to make a major chunk of team’s score he stepped up and played a brilliant inning of 99 earns Mushfiq a player of the match award.
Mushfiqur Rahim: “With the new ball and with the quality Pakistan bowling had we knew we might lose early wickets. It’s very important that I believed in myself and I spoke to Mithun that we need to build a partnership which was very crucial at that stage. The wicket was pretty good and we wanted to make sure we dig in through the first 10 overs. The credit goes to the way I practice and the preparation I do gives me a lot of self-belief. Whenever you are positive you take the right decisions more often and it helps a lot in my batting. Making the right decisions help me stay calm and my posture at the crease.”
Bangladesh 239/10 in 48.5 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 99, Mohammad Mithun 60; Junaid Khan 19/4, Shaheen Afridi 47/2)
Pakistan 174/3 in 36.2 overs (Rohit Sharma 83, Shikhar Dhawan 40; Rubel Hossain 21/1)
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