ICC World Cup 2023: Pakistan back to winning ways

Pakistan made a triumphant return to form in the ICC World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens, securing a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh with 105 balls to spare. Pakistan’s bowling and batting looked clinical, which is a stark contrast to their performances in recent games. Pakistan had faced difficulties both on and off the field, suffering four consecutive losses and dealing with various allegations. Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has also resigned due to conflict-of-interest charges.

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Babar Azam’s team set aside these issues with a clinical performance, earning their third win in seven matches and moving to fifth place in the standings with six points, tied with Afghanistan but with a superior Net Run Rate. Fakhar Zaman (81) and Abdullah Shafique (68) were the standout performers for Pakistan’s batting as they chased down Bangladesh’s total after winning the toss.

In the first innings, Pakistan’s bowlers, including Shaheen Shah Afridi (3-23), Mohammad Wasim (3-31), and Haris Rauf (2-36), were in fine form, dismissing Bangladesh for a modest 204. Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah (56) and Shakib Al Hasan (43) provided some resistance with the bat.

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Pakistan’s reply saw them reach 205/3 in just 32.3 overs, marking the fourth time they won a men’s ODI World Cup game with over 100 balls to spare.

Fakhar Zaman played aggressively during the Power-play, supported by Abdullah Shafique. The duo added 72 runs between the 11th and 20th overs, hitting several boundaries and sixes. Mehidy Hasan Miraz finally took a wicket for Bangladesh in the 22nd over when he dismissed Abdullah Shafique, but by then, Pakistan was well on course to chase down the target.

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Mehidy later removed both Fakhar and Babar Azam, but the result was already in Pakistan’s favor. Pakistan’s bowlers, led by Shaheen Afridi, had a strong start in the first innings, taking early wickets. Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan provided resistance for Bangladesh, but quick wickets from Pakistan’s pacers kept the pressure on.

In the end, Bangladesh could only manage to cross the 200-run mark, and Pakistan’s strong batting ensured their victory.

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This ICC World Cup 2023 win has revitalised Pakistan’s World Cup campaign. Meanwhile, Bangladesh face a challenging road ahead in the tournament. Despite their historical win over Pakistan in 1999, the latter has generally dominated their encounters. Pakistan strengthened their head-to-head record with a recent seven-wicket win in the Asia Cup.

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