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Pakistan crush Bangladesh’s hope of a comeback in T20 series with 8-wicket win

  • Syed Mahmud Onindo, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-11-20 16:26:38 BdST

Pakistan have cruised to an eight-wicket victory over the Tigers to comfortably bag the T20 series going 2-0 up with a match to spare.

As Bangladesh’s batting woes stretched beyond the T20 World Cup to Saturday, Pakistan eased to a second consecutive win at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Bangladesh raised hopes of a fightback in their defence of measly 108 when opener and skipper Babar Azam (39) dragged Mustafizur Rahman on to the stumps.

But opener Mohammad Rizwan (39) and Fakhar Zaman (57) snuffed out the hosts’ hopes of a comeback with a 85-run second wicket stand as Mahmudullah’s bowlers failed to create opportunities and stared at defeat midway through the Pakistan innings.

Rizwan’s dismissal by Aminul Islam was inconsequential as the visitors swept and cut with confidence while displaying smart understanding in running between  the wickets.

Mahmudullah brought in eight bowlers in search of wickets but Pakistan, buoyed by their last-four finish in the T20 World Cup, adapted well to be on their way across the finishing line with 11 balls to spare.

Earlier, Pakistan bowlers put up a fine show to restrict Bangladesh to a below par 108 for seven.

Opting to bat first, Bangladesh once again gave away early wickets cheaply as Pakistan seamers kept the batsmen under pressure with some accurate bowling from the outset.

Speedster Shaheen Afridi (2-15) struck in his first over earning the scalp of Saif Hassan - trapped in the front first ball, before Mohammad Naim (2) fell edging to first slip for a sharp catch in the next over.

After scoring a run-a-ball in the powerplay, Bangladesh’s third-wicket resistance cropped up 46 runs with topscorer Najmul Hossain Shanto (40), Afif Hossain (20) and Mahmudullah (12) steadying the ship.

However, Haris Rauf (1-13) and Shadab Khan (2-22) took Shanto and Afif in the space of four balls, before the skipper perished for 12 as Bangladesh sank to 82 for five in the 14th over.

The runs dried up and pressure mounted as Nurul Hasan (11) and Mahedi Hasan (3) failed to break free. Mohammad Nawaz (1-25) and Shadab dragged the hosts further down sending the pair back to the hutch with Bangladesh teetering on 102 for seven in the penultimate over.

In a bid to level the three-game series after Pakistan’s steely win in the first gae, Bangladesh cracked just eight boundaries and a six in their 20 overs while 63 dot balls in the innings turned the screws on the batsmen.

Fakhar Zaman was adjudged Man of the Match for his unbeaten 51-ball knock.

"Wasn't easy to play shots early on, wanted to build partnerships and succeeded. Thankfully we finished it off well. It was a better wicket than yesterday's, not an ideal wicket but better than yesterday. Whenever you play outside your country, it's important to win games. We'll try to win the third game as well," he later said.

Pakistan skipper Azam said, "Team effort, happy with the way the boys carried forward the momentum," says Babar Azam. "We bowled well in the middle overs, finished it off well."

At the post-game ceremony, Mahmudullah said, "We started well, Afif and Shanto batted well. Me and Shanto were trying to get a partnership but didn't capitalise in the last few overs," says Mahmudullah.

"I think a team like us need a set batter till the 15th over, we didn't do that. Boys are putting in a lot of effort at training, taking catches, doing all the things right but are missing chances. I think last five-six months, our bowling unit has been outstanding, both pace and spin department. It's the batting unit that have to deliver."

The teams will play their last match of the 20-over series on Monday at the same venue, before they travel to Chattogram for the first of the two Tests.