Also on cricketcountry.com
By Shrikant Shankar
Mar 4, 2014
Pakistan have beaten Bangladesh by three wickets in a thrilling contest in the eighth match of the Asia Cup 2014 at Mirpur. In a sensational run-chase, Shahid Afridi‘s 25-ball 59 helped Pakistan get over a 327-run target in 49.5 overs. Ahmed Shehzad had top-scored with 103 and Fawad Alam scored 74.
With the victory, Pakistan have booked a place in the final of the Asia Cup with Sri Lanka. That has put India out of the tournament. This is also Pakistan’s highest-ever run-chase in One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
The Pakistan innings began with Mohammad Hafeez hitting his first four down the ground. Shehzad hit one through the covers to get his first four. Hafeez the hit a back of a length delivery from Shafiul Islam through wide long-on. He then cut a wide delivery from Al-Amin Hossain in front of point.
Shehzad then cut a wide delivery from Shakib Al Hasan for a four on the first delivery of the 11th over. Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak bowled a short delivery and Hafeez pulled it away for a four through mid-wicket.
Hafeez then reached his 20th half-century in ODIs. He soon departed as Pakistan lost their first wicket. Hafeez lofted a delivery from Mominul Haque to Imrul Kayes at long-on. He scored 52 off 55 deliveries. Misbah came in and cut a wide delivery from Mominul towards point. But he was dismissed early.
Misbah tried to heave a straight delivery from Shakib Al Hasan and got bowled. Sohaib Maqsood was the third wicket to fall. He tried to cut a length delivery from Mominul and Anamul Haque collected the ball. There was no edge, but the players appealed and the umpire raised his finger. In fact, Hafeez, Misbah and Sohaib Maqsood fell in a span of 13 deliveries.
But Shehzad kept scoring fours square on both sides of the wicket. Razzak tossed one up and Shehzad cane down the track and hit the ball over extra-cover for a four. He then pulled a short delivery over mid-wicket for consecutive fours in the 32nd over.
Shafiul Islam bowled a short and wide delivery and Alam cut it over backward-point for a four. Shehzad then pulled a length delivery over mid-wicket for another four in the over. Al-Amin then bowled a short delivery and Shehzad hooked it away for a six over fine-leg.
Shehzad soon reached his century in the 37th over. It was his fifth century in ODIs. Shehzad and Alam then got their partnership over the 100-run mark. But Abdur Razzak struck as he bowled Shehzad for 103. Shehzad moved away to the leg side and left-arm spinner Razzak fired a yorker at the stumps. The batsman missed and he was bowled. Then came the heroics from Afridi.
He an incredible seven sixes and two fours in a 25-ball 59 to get Pakistan close to their target. He was run out by Shakib in the 47th over. It was then left to Fawad and Umar Akmal. Fawad smashed two sixes in the end to bring Pakistan closer to their target. Despite Fawad getting run-out in the last over, Pakistan won the match with one ball to spare. Afridi was the Man of the Match.
Earlier, Bangladesh posted a huge total of 326 for three in their 50 overs. Anamul Haque top-scored with 100 while Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim scored half-centuries. Shakib Al Hasan scored a quick-fire 44 off 16 deliveries. This is the first time a score of 300-plus has been achieved in this Asia Cup.
Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the bowlers taking two wickets, but he gave away 61 runs. It seemed to be enough, but it wasn’t to be in the end for Bangladesh. This is the first time Bangladesh have lost a ODI after posting a total above the 300-run mark.
Bangladesh 326 for 3 in 50 overs (Anamul Haque 100, Imrul Kayes 59, Mominul Haque 51, Mushfiqur Rahim 51*, Shakib Al Hasan 44*; Saeed Ajmal 2 for 61) lost to Pakistan 329 for 7 in 49.5 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 103, Mohammad Hafeez 52, Fawad Alam 74, Shahid Afridi 59; Mominul Haque 2 for 37) by 3 wickets.
Man of the Match: Shahid Afridi
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
Play Fantasy Cricket & Win
Cash Daily! Click here