Batting fails Tigers again
At the end, it was Bangladesh's batting collapse that lost them the game. A 168-run stand for the third wicket between Tamim Iqbal (81) and Mahmudullah Riyad (83) provided hopes of a total around 300. The batsmen, who came to the crease with the Tigers struggling at 16 for 2, played cautiously and stitched a much needed partnership.
Both of them scored half-centuries and battled on till the 40th over. With a little more than 10 overs to go, Bangladesh were at a comfortable 184 for 2, but that's when disaster struck.
Tamim and Riyad were dispatched in consecutive overs and Mushfiqur Rahim was bowled by young leg-spinner Yasir Shah first up. The flurry of wickets put pressure on the middle order who eventually crumbled.
Shakib tried hard to up the rate, but eventually fell prey to the tall Mohammad Irfan, who ended up with a five-wicket haul.
Bangladesh's total of 246 on a moderately sized Blacktown Olympic Park in Sydney was never going to be enough. It's also a sign of the days to come. The last few matches in Australia suggest that in order to secure a safe score a team needs to score around 300 runs. The Tigers failed to cross 250 in their first three practice matches.
A good showing from Bangladesh's pacers however ensured that the match got stretched till the end.
Wickets taken by Rubel Hossain, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed reduced Pakistan to 52 for 3 in 16 overs and it gave Tigers the start they needed. An unbeaten 93 from Sohaib Maqsood ensured that there were no further jitters. Pakistan won the game with three wickets and eleven balls remaining.
While there were signs of encouragement for the Tigers, there are still a number of areas that they desperately need to focus on. One can't for instance blow away a match after getting into such a good position. The other issue will be with regards to the two slow left-armers in the Bangladesh side. While Taijul Islam leaked 56 runs in seven overs in the last practice match, Arafat Sunny gave away 31 in four. These specialist spinners are yet to make their mark.
The Tigers play their next practice match against Ireland on February 12.