Shakib's heroics not enough to stop Pakistan
by Asher Wilson

Scorecard:Bangladesh v Pakistan
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2012/13

DateLine: 26th September 2012


After winning the toss, Bangladesh elected to bat which came as a bit of a surprise for the cricketing world because at the beginning of the match the pitch was always going to be helpful for fast bowlers. However, thanks to some loose bowling by Pakistani bowlers, Bangladesh rode on Shakib`s heroics and some fine contributions from opener Tamim Iqbal (24) and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (25) to post their highest score 175/6 against Pakistan in T20 internationals. Shakib notched up his career-best score to help Bangladesh put up a creditable total in the 'must-win' Group D clash.


Openers Tamim and Mohammad Ashraful (14) provided a steady start with a 34-run stand before Shakib came up with his entertaining knock laced with two sixes and 11 fours. Pakistan paid a heavy price for some sloppy fielding topped by as many as three dropped catches. Left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir provided the first breakthrough when he bowled Ashraful in the fourth over.


Tamim should consider himself unlucky as he fell victim to a terrible mix-up with Shakib. After Tamim`s dismissal, Shakib took the onus on himself to guide Bangladesh`s innings and in the process completed his 1000 runs in T20 cricket with a four off Tanvir. Shakib, in the company of skipper Rahim, mixed caution with aggression and kept the scoreboard ticking along with occasional boundaries.


Bangladesh raced to 90 for two in 10 overs, aided by lethargic fielding. Shakib looked in ominous form as he resorted to playing cuts and pulls to keep the run-rate at 9 and above. The 25-year-old batsman completed his half-century in the 13th over with a six off medium-pacer Yasir Arafat over deep mid-wicket. In the same over, Shakib was dropped at mid-off by Shahid Afridi who could not hold on to the ball while diving to his left. Tanvir dropped a regulation catch of Rahim at midwicket to add to Pakistan's woes.


Arafat got rid of Rahim in the 15th over when the skipper was caught at deep midwicket by Nazir. Afridi grabbed Mahmudullah (0) in the next over as Bangladesh reached 136 for four in the 16th. Shakib continued with his onslaught as he clobbered Gul for three fours in the 18th over to take his team past the 150-run mark. He was dismissed in the last over by Arafat caught by Umar Akmal at long-off. Arafat was the most successful bowler for Pakistan with 3 for 25 while Tanvir and Afridi managed a wicket apiece.


Needing a win to advance to the next round, Pakistan rode on Nazir's 36-ball 72-run blistering knock and his record 124-run opening stand with skipper Mohammad Hafeez to chase down Banglasdesh's challenging 176-run target with eight balls to spare. Opener Imran Nazir produced the tournamentís fastest half-century as Pakistan stormed into the Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 with a crushing eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Nazir reached his fifty in just 25 deliveries, one quicker than Chris Gayle`s 26-ball effort against Australia.


In the crucial encounter, Bangladesh needed to win by a margin of at least 36 runs, but their bowlers 'came a cropper' in the face of Nazir's sustained onslaught. During his belligerent knock, Nazir struck three sixes and nine fours that left Bangladesh shell-shocked, although they had given themselves a chance by posting a competitive total.


Nazir was ably supported by Hafeez (45 off 47 balls) as they produced the tournament's highest partnership for any wicket. The Pakistan show meant that Shakib Al Hasan`s brilliant 54-ball 84 went in vain. But their joy was short-lived after Pakistan got off to a flying start with Nazir and Hafeez clobbering the Bangladesh bowlers all around the park.


Nazir cashed in a chance in the second over when he was dropped by Abul Hassan at mid on off medium pacer Shafiul Islam and made Bangladesh pay a heavy price as he picked Islam and Mashrafe Mortaza for a six each to keep the asking run-rate well under control and treated the opposition bowlers with disdain to take his side to 64 without loss at the end of the mandatory powerplay. Nazir took the team score past 100-run mark with a four off Mahmudullah in the 11th over as he left the opposition bowlers clueless with his clinical show.


Rahim brought back medium-pacer Abul Hasan to attack and the move immediately paid rich dividends as he removed Nazir and Hafeez in the 14th over. After the two openers were dismissed, Nasir Jamshed (29 off 14) and Kamran Akmal (22 off 15) kept the momentum going for Pakistan and took their team into the next round.


Hafeez: "I think itís a great team effort. Boys have showed right attitude. Things were not working for Bangladesh. The way Nazir approached the target was great. Everything was working for him. There is a little bit of concern as far as fast bowling is concerned. Bangladesh bowled well, but Nazir was too good. When we chase, we try to get a good start. Nazir and Jamshed are doing really well. We had a good time here. I am really happy with the way the boys are responding."


Mushfiqur Rahim: "The pressure was on us as we did not do well in the first game. Boys worked really hard. Shakib played a blinder. Pakistanís batting and bowling was better. We can take some positives and go home and try and work out. We are not used to playing on these kind of wickets. We will try to work on our game."

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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