T20 World Cup. Pakistan VS Bangladesh: Pakistan makes it to the semifinals with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh.
ADELAIDE: Pakistan used a clinical bowling performance to defeat Bangladesh by five wickets in their high-stakes final group match on Sunday to advance to the T20 World Cup semifinals.
After losing to India and Zimbabwe in the Super 12 stage, Pakistan was handed a lifeline when fancied South Africa was knocked out by Netherlands, who had earlier registered a memorable 13-run win at the same venue earlier in the tournament.
That result not only secured India’s semifinal package with a match in hand but also gave Pakistan and Bangladesh a chance in a winner-take-all contest.
Opting to bat, Bangladesh got off to a flying start, with Najmul Hossain Shanto slamming a counter-attacking 48 ball 54, but fell short of the winning run as Pakistan rode on pacer Shaheen Afridi’s career-best t20i figures of 4 for 22 to restrict their opponents to 127 for eight.
It was not an easy chase, but Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals and found themselves in a tight spot before Shan Massod calmed his nerves and sealed the victory with 11 balls to spare.
After Pakistan lost both openers, Babar Azam (25) and Mohammed Rizan (32) in quick succession, Mohammed Haris played a crucial 18-ball 31 in the middle.
Haris committed harakiri and was dismissed by Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan with seven required.
Pakistan lost another wicket in the form of Iftikhar Ahmed, leaving them with only two wickets needed to win.
Pakistan’s chasing strategy was cautious, with skipper Babar Azam desperate to get some runs under his belt.
When Bangladesh wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan dropped a dolly in the first over, his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan received a reprieve on zero.
Despite an erratic start, the pair held on and put on 57 runs for the opening wicket.
With no run rate pressure, Pakistan appeared to be coasting, but the contest became tense after Nasum Ahmed (1/14) got the breakthrough.
The left-arm spinner, who was outstanding in the Powerplay, returned in the 11th over to put an end to Azam’s tense stay.
In the next over, Ebadot Hossain dismissed Rizwan.
Pakistan needed 59 off 48 balls, and Haris smashed Ebadot for a boundary and six.
Earlier, on a difficult pitch, left-handed opener Najmul Hossain Shanto smashed a counter-attacking 48-ball 54, but Bangladesh faltered in the final overs, with Pakistani spinners triggering a collapse before Afridi took control with a superb 4-22 haul.
Shanto was at his best, effortlessly piercing the field on his way to his second fifty of the tournament.
After Liton Das was out early, Shanto and Soumya Sarkar (20) shared 72 runs off 47 balls for the second wicket to set the tone for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh was on the verge of a 150-plus score when Shadab Khan (2/30) precipitated the collapse.
The leg spinner took two wickets in two balls, including a controversial DRS dismissal of Bangladesh captain Shakib for a golden duck.
Shanto, on the other hand, seemed unfazed as he went about his business, finishing with a 46 ball, his second in the tournament.
But Shanto was outwitted by off-spinner Iftikhar, who cleaned him up with a slower one.
Lftikar returned with figures of 3-0-15-1 as Babar’s strategy of attacking with the off-spinner against left-handed Bangladesh batters worked.
Then Afridi got in on the act, dismissing Mosaddek Hossain, Nurul Hasan, and Taskin Hamed in six balls over two overs.
Haris Raif looked sharp and finished with a time of 1/21.
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