The Bangladesh Emerging team were no different to the national team in terms of intent and approach as they succumbed to a massive 77-run defeat to their Pakistani counterparts in the final of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Pakistan won a maiden title in their third final appearance at the tournament and played much better than the hosts, who fielded six national players but were nowhere near their best.
Rohail Nazir was hero with a scintillating 113-run knock that contained 13 fours and three sixes. The right-hander’s 111-ball stay helped Pakistan post 301. After the exchange, Bangladesh failed to show any character in chase of the stiff target and were bundled out for 224 runs in 43.3 overs.
It would have provided a bit of consolation for the country’s cricket-crazed fans had the likes of Soumya Sarkar and Nazmul Hossain proved scooped a maiden title in the tournament following the national side’s sordid showing in India.
But an ordinary bowling effort after a good start in the morning and sloppy fielding were followed by the wrong batting approach which made it seem like the batsmen had no idea about footwork.
Having won the toss, the home side decided to bowl first and pacer Sumon Khan made early inroads into the Pakistan top-order by removing both openers to reduce the visitors to 41 for two.
However, Nazir and Imran Rafiq, who scored 62 off 88 balls with four boundaries and two sixes, showed character in building a partnership after the early hiccups.
They added 117 runs for the third wicket and the most important part of their innings was the way they milked runs from singles and went for the kill on bad balls only when they had settled -- an approach that was missing during Bangladesh innings. Captain Saud Shakeel chipped in with 40-ball 42 that contained one four and two sixes.
Agonisingly, Sumon was so inconsistent with his line and length later that he ultimately gave away 75 runs in 10 overs for three wickets.
Nazir was given two lifelines as Yasir Ali, who also dropped Khushdil Shah, failed to take an easy catch when the batsman on 23 and Tanvir Islam missed another chance at 78.
A lot would depend on Soumya and captain Nazmul in chase of the massive target but the former, who is still an emerging player although he had played the tournament in 2013, tried to slog Sameen Gul but could only reach the safe hands of Haider Ali in the slips for 15.
On the other hand, Nazmul, who was playing in his third Emerging Cup, swept Khushdil Shah straight to Umer Khan at short fine leg. Young opener Mohammad Naim, who made headlines for his good T20I knock in India, tried to pull Mohammad Hasnain without any foot movement and brought his 16-run knock to an immature end. After the top-order collapse it was just a formality for the visitors to finish the job.
After the match the realisation from Bangladesh captain Nazmul was: “It was a chaseable target. We should have been more careful in our approach.”
SCORES IN BRIEF
PAKISTAN: 301 for six overs (Rohail 113, Imran 62, Saud 42; Hasan 2-52, Sumon 3-75, Mahedi 1-39)
BANGLADESH: 224 all out in 43.3 overs (Naim 16, Soumya 15, Nazmul 46, Yasir 22, Afif 49, Mahedi 42; Hasnain 3-32, Khushdil 2-39, Saif 2-27)
Result: Pakistan won by 77 runs.
Player-of-the-match: Rohail Nazir.
Player-of-the-series: Soumya Sarkar