Pakistan survive Bangladesh scare, win by 21 runs


Gros Islet (St. Lucia) : Defending champions Pakistan were given a fright by Bangladesh before stumbling to a 21-run win in a Goup A match of the WorldTwenty20 here Sunday.

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Chasing Pakistan’s 172 for three, Bangladesh were quick to lose both their openers Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal before a 91-run stand between Mohammad Ashraful (65) and Shakib Al Hasan (47) resurrected their hopes.

However, the fall of Shakib off Twenty20 international debutant Mohammad Sami, who took two wickets in the 16th over, drew curtains on the Bangladesh’s hopes of creating an upset and they were stopped at 151 for seven.

Sami, who was picked in place of an experienced Mohammad Asif for the match, showed heart to recover from a nervy start to end with three wickets for 29.

The start of Bangladeshi innings threatened to make it a stroll in the park for Pakistan but Ashraful and Shakib joined forces to put up a fight.

The two mixed caution with aggression as they slowly built the Bangladeshi innings and came heavily on slow bowlers especially Mohammad Hafeez (1-28) and Shahid Afridi (0-37).

Shakib’s two towering sixes off Hafeez in the 14th over left Bangladesh needing just 59 runs off 36 balls. But their hopes were cut short when Shakib lofted a drive off Sami in the very next over, only to be caught by Umar Akmal at the long off.

Shakib’ innings came off 34 balls and featured three fours and two sixes.

Mahmudullah, who came next, became Sami’s second victim in the same over and when Ashraful was caught behind by Mohammad Aamer in 18th over, it was all but over for Bangladesh.

Ashraful’s knock came in 49 balls with four fours and three sixes.

Earlier, Pakistan deciding to bat, were given a solid start by their openers Kamran Akmal (73) and Salman Butt (73) who put up a 142 run stand.

The two tore apart the Bangladeshi attack and it wasn’t till the 16th over when Akmal departed that there was an over that did not go for a boundary, Akmal struck eight fours and a six in his 55 balls innings.

Butt, whose ability to play in the Twenty20 format was always questioned, played with purpose, his innings coming in 46 balls with eight fours and two sixes.

Shakib was the pick of Bangladeshi bowlers finishing with figures of 2-27 from his four overs.