LAHORE: Dazzling half-centuries by veteran Mohammad Hafeez and skipper Babar Azam propelled Pakistan to a crushing nine-wicket win against Bangladesh to give the hosts victory in the three match series and an unassailable 2-0 lead here at the Gaddafi Stadium before a good week-end crowd on Saturday.
Chasing a gettable total of 137 for victory, Pakistan made short work of it by achieving it in just 16.4 overs with 20 balls to spare. Both Hafeez and Babar struck fluent fifties and appeared in fine form, playing strokes all around the wicket with great ease.
Hafeez scored a brisk 67 off 49 balls with nine fours and one six while Babar remained unbeaten at 66 off just 44 balls studded with seven fours and one six. He was also adjudged as Man of the Match. No Bangladeshi bowler could check the flow of the runs by both the Pakistani top order batsmen.
Hafeez joined Babar after upcoming opener Ahsan Ali departed for a duck, caught by Mahmudullah off Shafiul Islam at the team total of six. Both Hafeez and Babar then plundered 131 runs off just 90 balls in their undefeated second wicket stand to knock off the target convincingly.
Last match of the series will be played in Lahore on Monday
Hafeez completed his 11th half-century with eight boundaries off 39 balls. Soon afterwards Babar, who has earned a duck in the first match, also reached 50-run mark with a six. He also struck five fours while facing 35 balls. Babar’s sixer saw Pakistan completing 100 runs in 13.3 overs. It was the 13th half-century of his T20 career by Babar, the world No.1 batsman in this shortest format.
Hafeez got a chance when wicketkeeper Litton dropped an easy catch off Mustafizur Rahman in the 14th over. But in the 16th over, That miss was really costly as Babar hit the pacer for two consecutive fours while Hafeez pulled the bowler for his lone six to see Pakistan home.
Shafiul Islam took the lone wicket to fall for 27 runs. Mahadi Hasan was the most expensive bowler for the tourists, giving away 28 runs without any wicket.
Earlier, batting first after winning the toss, Bangladesh again failed to set a daunting total for Pakistan and were restricted to 136 for six in 20 overs. Opener Tamim Iqbal was the top scorer with 65 off 53balls after he had survived a leg before wicket appeal. He struck seven fours and one six and the second best scorer was Afif Hossain who made 21. Both Tamim and Afif contributed 45-run partnership in the fourth wicket stand and that was the only significant of the visiting team’s innings.
Bangladesh failed to get a flying start and were tottering at 2-22 in 4.2 overs. Though top ranked opener Tamim held one end, fellow opener Naim Sheikh (0) was removed by Shaheen Shah Afridi and Muhammad Hussain sent back Mahedi Hasan (9) who was playing first match of the series.
Both were held by wicketkeeper Muhammad Rizwan. It put Bangladesh under pressure as they could gather just 33 runs from the first power play. And when they lost Linton Das (8) adjudged leg before wicket off leg-spinner Shadab Khan at the total of 41, their hopes for any big total had faded away. However, Tamim stood firm with Afif and on their way Tamim was adjudged leg before off pacer Muhammad Hussain at the total of 84, but TV umpire changed it.
But in the same over, Hasnain had Afif caught by Haris Rauf for 21 at the total of 86, ending 45-run partnership in the fourth-wicket stand. Afif hit one six and one four. Tamim with his captain Mahmuddulah steered the visitors to the100-run mark in 15.4 over. With well set Tamim and slogger Mahmudullah on the crease, some fireworks were expected but Tamim was run out by Imad Wasim for 65 off 53 balls at the total of 117-5 in 17.4 overs. He smashed seven fours and one six, as the innings was ended at modest total 136-6.
Hasnain captured two wickets for 20 while Shaheen and Haris took one wicket each for 22 and 27 runs each.
The third and final match will be played at the same venue on Monday.
Tamim Iqbal run out 66
Mohammad Naim c Rizwan b Shaheen 0
Mahedi Hasan c Rizwan b Hasnain 9
Liton Das lbw b Shadab 8
Afif Hossain c Haris b Hasnain 21
Mahmudullah b Haris 12
Soumya Sarkar not out 5
Aminul Islam not out 8
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-5, NB-1) 8
TOTAL (for six wkts, 20 overs) 136
FALL OF WKTS: 1-5, 2-22, 3-41, 4-86, 5-117, 6-126.
DID NOT BAT: Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain.
BOWLING: Imad Wasim 2-0-16-0 (1w); Shaheen Shah Afridi 4-0-22-1 (1w); Mohammad Hasnain 4-0-20-2 (1nb, 1w); Haris Rauf 4-0-27-1 (1w); Shadab Khan 3-0-28-1; Shoaib Malik 2-0-9-0; Iftikhar Ahmed 1-0-12-0.
Babar Azam not out 66
Ahsan Ali c Mahmudullah b Shafiul 0
Mohammad Hafeez not out 67
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-3) 4
TOTAL (for on wkt, 16.4 overs) 137
FALL OF WKT: 1-6.
DID NOT BAT: Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf.
BOWLING: Mahedi Hasan 4-0-28-0; Shafiul Islam 3-0-27-1 (1w); Al-Amin Hossain 3-0-17-0 (1w); Mustafizur Rahman 3-0-29-0 (1w); Aminul Islam 2-0-16-0; Afif Hossain 1-0-16-0; Mahmudullah 0.4-0-3-0.
RESULT: Pakistan won by nine wickets to lead three-match series 2-0.
UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan) and Shozab Raza (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Babar Azam.
FIRST MATCH: Lahore, Pakistan won by five wickets.
THIRD MATCH: Lahore, Monday.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2020