Ahmed Shehzad’s fifth ODI century wasn’t quite enough, Pakistan needed special innings from Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi too, who smashed an 18-ball fifty, to pull off their highest chase in ODIs and book a place in the Asia Cup final, against Sri Lanka.
Afridi scored 59 off 25 balls, hitting seven sixes during a 69-run stand for the sixth wicket with Fawad Alam that took only 5.3 overs. The game was decided with only one ball to spare.
A solid start from the openers had seen the highest total of this Asia Cup and in the ODI history Bangladesh, setting a mammoth score of 326 losing 3 wickets against Pakistan. Fifty from three top order batsman and a sensible hundred from Anamul paved the way while Shakib’s thrashing 44 off 16 bolted the last nail.
Mushfiq and Shakib’s 77 runs partnership from just 34 balls lifted Bangladesh from 249 in the 44th over to 326 at the end of their innings. Mushfiq scored his 14th ODI fifty with an unbeaten 51 from 33 deliveries hitting 8 boundaries. Shakib has six boundaries and two over boundaries in his name giving Saeed Ajmol a sorry looking figure of 10-0-61-2 considering the fact that he gave away only 9 runs in his first 6 overs.
After the departure of Anamul, Mushfiq added 45 runs in the 3rd wicket partnership which took only 31 balls. Mominul was lured by a flighted delivery from Azmal, tried a slog sweep and ended up at square leg in Hafeez’s hand bringing an end to his very well timed 51 run innings from 47 balls.
Imrul Kayes and Anamul Haque had brought Bangladesh a glorious start, first time since the injury of Tamim Iqbal during the Sri Lanka series as the pair added 150 runs in 28 overs. Kayes was dropped in first slip in the very first over of Mohammad Hafeez and did not miss the chance to capitalize that mistake. Anamul picked up his fifty in just 55 deliveries. Kayes departed after scoring 59 in his comeback match. Anamul was caught at deep midwicket trying to slog one from Ajmal delivery after reaching 100 in 130 delivery leaving Bangladesh at 204.
Winning the toss, tiger captain Mushfiqur Rahim decided to bat first at Mirpur against Pakistan. The wicket is expected to deteriorate in the latter half of second innings. It will be interesting how Bangladesh approach today’s game, as they will be eager to prove their previous match defeat against Afghanistan as a fluke. On the other hand, Pakistan will reach the final if they win today.
Bangladesh team management had brought in total of 5 changes including Shakib’s. Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Shafiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain are back in the tiger squad. No Rubel, Shamsur, Naeem and Arafat Sunny today while Gazi is out with a finger injury.