Tigers begin Super Four with big defeat
Another batting failure saw Bangladesh succumb to a seven-wicket defeat against Pakistan in their first Asia Cup Super Four encounter at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore yesterday.
Even after playing with eight batters on a flat surface, Bangladesh were bundled out for just 193 in 38.4 overs despite fifties from skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. With no apparent scoreboard pressure, Pakistan romped to victory with 63 balls to spare as Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Rizwan hit fifties.
Imam survived a few close LBW calls but went to capitalise on those to reach his 19th ODI fifty. The left-handed opener scored 78 off 84, featuring five fours and four maximums, while Rizwan put the finishing touches with an unbeaten 63 off 79.
Bangladesh pacer Shoriful Islam impressed yet again with his off-the-pitch movement but only had Fakhar Zaman's wicket to show for his efforts. Taskin Ahmed claimed the crucial wicket of Babar Azam but the paltry target never seemed out of Pakistan's reach.
Bangladesh made only one change to the playing eleven that featured in their whopping 89-run victory over Afghanistan in the previous game which eventually ensured their Super Four spot. Liton Das, who was initially ruled out of the six-nation tournament due to viral fever, replaced in-form batter Najmul Hossain Shanto, who saw his Asia Cup campaign cut short due to a hamstring injury.
Bangladesh's gambit of playing Mehedi Hasan Miraz as a makeshift opener alongside Mohammad Naim did not pay off yesterday. Miraz, who had surprised with a magnificent ton against Afghanistan just two days ago, departed for a golden duck when he chipped a Naseem Shah delivery to square leg in the second over.
Liton, having joined the squad in Lahore a day before, started brilliantly -- playing some eye-pleasing drives for boundaries off Naseem Shah. The right-handed opener, however, could not capitalise on the start, edging back a quick rising delivery from Pakistan pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi in the fifth over.
Things soon turned bleak for the Tigers with the introduction of Haris Rauf, who removed Naim and Towhid Hridoy in his first two overs to leave Bangladesh reeling at four for 47 inside the Powerplay.
Naim, once again intensifying the debate over his selection, was cramped for space while trying to pull a 140kph-plus Rauf delivery, giving a return catch to the bowler. Meanwhile, Hridoy's lean patch continued as the right-hander departed after a nine-ball two, being castled by a lightning-quick Rauf delivery.
Shakib and Mushfiqur, the two most experienced Bangladesh batters, regrouped and stitched together a 100-run fifth-wicket stand, raising hopes for a decent score in the Tigers' camp.
Shakib looked quite promising during his 53-run knock but when the all-rounder's pull off a Faheem Ashraf delivery in the 30th over found the fielder in the deep, it sort of opened the floodgate that brought in yet another downfall of the batting order.
Mushfiqur, despite being well-set on 64, threw his wicket away as he edged one back to the keeper in an attempt to take on Rauf in the 38th over.
Bangladesh went on to lose their final four wickets in space of just three runs, with Rauf claiming four for 19 in just six overs.