While Tigers’ score of 239 was below par, Mustafizur Rahman made early inroads into the Pakistani batting lineup in a fiery early spell after Mehedi Miraz had gotten opener Fakhar Zaman out. That gave Tigers the belief that they could win this game but then Shoaib Malik, who has been Pakistan’s star man this tournament laid anchor alongside opener Imam Ul Haq and started taking the game away from the Tigers.
The Pakistan duo starred in a 67-run partnership and took the Tigers’ initial momentum away. That is until in 21st over, bowled by Rubel Hossain, captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza latched onto a catch and plucked it out of thin air as if by magic, after Malik had played early to a Rubel delivery and drove it uppishly towards midwicket.
Malik had been Pakistan’s match winner against Afghanistan with a 43-ball 51-run knock, hitting a six and a four in the last over to get Pakistan over the line. Against India he struck 78, looking in really good touch and yesterday another big innings from him was on the cards. It was Malik’s wicket that changed the game and Mushfiqur Rahim, chosen as player of the match yesterday, agreed.
“Of course [the catch was the turning point]. As I said, Shoaib bhai is their team’s most important and consistent player. Obviously it was important for us to get him out quickly. And in this old age, Allah has given us the ability to take one or two good catches, so Mashrafe bhai is very happy and I am too,” Mushfiqur said.
Mashrafe, as if his boots were spring-loaded, leapt to his left and, completely airborne, plucked the ball two-handed clean out of its intended trajectory. He had a reaction time of 0.84 seconds and took the ball 2.54 metres above ground, proving that you don't need to walk to be able to fly. A survivor and sufferer of seven knee operations, Mashrafe’s athleticism and quick reaction proved to the difference maker at that moment and turned around the momentum back in Bangladesh’s favor.