DHAKA: Pakistan recovered from a precarious 24-4 to beat Bangladesh by four wickets in the first Twenty20 International of their three-match series on Friday.
The match was in the balance with three overs to go at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, then Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz hit two sixes each and Pakistan reached 132-6 in 19.2 overs, knocking off Bangladesh’s 127-7.
Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah launched Pakistan’s recovery with a 56-run partnership for the fifth wicket. They scored 34 each, removed in quick succession when Fakhar chased a wide delivery of fast bowler Taskin Ahmed to edge to wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan, and Khushdil was undone by a slower ball outside off by pacer Shoriful Islam.
With the visitors needing 32 runs in the last three overs, Shadab and Nawaz pulled off a blitz to break Bangladesh’s stranglehold.
It was Shadab who struck the winning six, leaving him unbeaten on 21 runs off 10 balls.
“Credit to the middle order, the way they showed the skills. Fakhar, Khushdil, the way Nawaz finished,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
Nawaz was unbeaten on 18 off eight and Shadab struck an unbeaten 21 off 10, hitting the winning six by slog-sweeping leg-spinner Aminul Islam over deep midwicket.
“We played like a unit,” Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali said. “Khushdil and Nawaz got the opportunity today and both delivered.”
Aminul, one of the home team’s specialist bowlers, came to bowl only in the last over when Pakistan needed two runs for the victory.
“Since two left-hand batsmen were batting, we didn’t bring our leggie but it would have been better to get 140, Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad said.
Pakistan made a cautious start on the slow pitch before Mohammad Rizwan’s stumps were rattled on 11 by fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman.
Taskin removed Babar for seven as Bangladesh put Pakistan under pressure at the start of their innings.
Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik both went for ducks, the former plumb leg before and Nurul showing presence of mind to run out the latter.
Malik was strolling outside his crease after conceding a dot ball when Hasan threw it back onto the stumps, and replays showed the veteran campaigner was late to ground his bat.
But Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah put Pakistan back on track as Bangladesh failed to keep up the pressure to the end.
The damage was ultimately done when they were restricted to 127, continuing a poor batting record that haunted Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup. The team has lost six straight T20s.
Pakistan pacers Hasan, with 3-22, and Mohammad Wasim, 2-24, triggered a collapse, leaving Bangladesh at 40-4 in the ninth over.
“I have been here during the BPL [Bangladesh Premier League] and I know it’s generally a slow pitch, Ali said. “So I bowled stump to stump and got wickets.
Afif Hossain top-scored for the side with 36 and Mahedi Hasan was unbeaten on 30 to help them get past 100.
Mahmudullah was sanguine about his choice to bat first.
“When we chose to bat, it looked a good wicket. But there was help for the bowlers as well. It’s not an excuse,” he said.
The second match of the series will be held at the same ground on Saturday.
M. Naim c Rizwan b Hasan 1
Saif Hassan c Fakhar b Wasim 1
Najmul Hossain c & b Wasim 7
Afif Hossain st Rizwan b Shadab 36
Mahmudullah Riyad b Nawaz 6
Nurul Hasan c Rizwan b Hasan 28
Mahedi Hasan not out 30
Aminul Islam b Hasan 2
Taskin Ahmed not out 8
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-7) 8
TOTAL (for seven wkts; 20 overs) 127
DID NOT BAT: Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.
FALL OF WKTS: 1-3 (Naim), 2-10 (Saif), 3-15 (Najmul), 4-40 (Mahmudullah), 5-61 (Afif), 6-96 (Nurul), 7-110 (Aminul).
BOWLING: Nawaz 4-0-27-1 (w1), Hasan 4-0-22-3 (w2), Wasim 4-0-24-2 (w2), Haris 4-0-33-0 (w2), Shadab 4-1-20-1.
Mohammad Rizwan b Mustafizur 11
Babar Azam b Taskin 7
Fakhar Zaman c Nurul b Taskin 34
Haider Ali lbw b Mahedi 0
Shoaib Malik run out 0
Khushdil Shah c Nurul b Shoriful 34
Shadab Khan not out 21
Mohammad Nawaz not out 18
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-5) 7
TOTAL (for six wkts, 19.2 overs) 132
DID NOT BAT: Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf.
FALL OF WKTS: 1-16 (Rizwan), 2-22 (Babar), 3-23 (Haider), 4-24 (Shoaib), 5-80 (Fakhar), 6-96 (Khushdil).
Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2021