Pakistan Register Comfortable Nine-Wicket Win Over Bangladesh to Secure Series
Mohammad Hafeez plays one on the leg side. (AFP Image)

Skipper Babar Azam and senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez stroked masterful half-centuries to steer Pakistan to a convincing nine-wicket win over a hapless Bangladesh in the second Twenty20 international in Lahore on Saturday.

Babar scored a 44-ball 66 not out for his 13th half-century and Hafeez made an undefeated 49-ball 67 to guide Pakistan to a modest 137-run target in 16.4 overs at Gaddafi stadium, taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Bangladesh again failed to put up a challenging total despite opener Tamim Iqbal’s 53-ball 65, managing 136-6 in their 20 overs after winning the toss and batting for a second consecutive match.

Pakistan skipper Babar put the victory down to “team work”.

“Credit for my captaincy goes to the players,” said Babar, who now has two wins in five matches as captain. “The seniors and bowlers make it easy for me. The series win was much-needed, we played a lot of youngsters, the idea was to increase our talent pool to give us more options going into the World Cup.”

Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah said defeats were disappointing.

“Definitely, disappointed to lose,” said the Bangladesh skipper. “We didn’t apply ourselves with the bat, except for Tamim. Should’ve scored 150-160. Intent was there, credit to Pakistan’s bowlers. We didn’t finish off well. Not sure yet how we’ll go for the last game, maybe we’ll try to play some reserves, but we need to come hard at them and win the game.”

Pakistan won the first match, also in Lahore on Friday, by five wickets. The final match is at the same venue on Monday. Pakistan were never in trouble despite losing opener Ahsan Ali in the second over, caught by Mahmudullah Riyad off paceman Shafiul Islam in the second over.

World number one Twenty20 batsman Babar, who was out without scoring on Friday, was in a punishing mood right from the outset, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his knock. Hafeez, recalled after 14 months in the Twenty20 side, stroked nine boundaries and a six in his 11th T20 fifty as the two added 131 for the unbroken second wickets stand.

Earlier, Bangladesh failed to better their unimpressive total of 141-5 on Friday as they found Pakistan bowling led by paceman Mohammad Hasnain’s 2-20 hard to get off. Opener Mohammad Naim fell off the very first ball he faced, caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan off lanky left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi who finished with 1-22.

It could have been worse had Rizwan hang on to an inside edge off Iqbal’s bat off a luckless Hasnan when the batsman was 16. Iqbal took full advantage of the lapse, hitting seven boundaries and a six during his laborious knock.

Bangladesh’s highest partnership was 31 for the fourth wicket as Afif Hossain knocked a six and a boundary in his 20-ball 21 before he holed out off Hasnain. Skipper Mahmudullah scored run-a-ball 12 as Bangladesh managed 48 in the last five overs.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 137/1 in 16.4 ov (Mohammad Hafeez 67*, Babar Azam 66*) beat Bangladesh 136/6 (Tamim Iqbal 65) by nine wickets

– (Agence France-Presse)