Pakistan pacers demolish Bangladesh to ensure seven-wicket win in Asia Cup Super Four

Haris Rauf was Pakistan’s standout bowler on a flat pitch, sending down scorchers to finish with figures of 4-17 in their Asia Cup Super Four stage match against Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium. Despite a shoulder injury concern, Naseem Shah took three wickets for Pakistan, while Shaheen Shah Afridi, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Faheem Ashraf picked up a wicket apiece, as Pakistan won by seven wickets.

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Bangladesh were aided by Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored 53 and 64 runs, respectively. The two put on a crucial 100-run fifth wicket partnership after their team had struggled at 47/4 initially. However, Bangladesh’s innings folded after Shakib’s dismissal, as they were dismissed for under 200, with the last four wickets falling in just nine balls.

Chasing a subpar target, Imam-ul-Haq overcame a challenging opening spell to hit 78, his fifth ODI fifty in the last eight innings. Mohammad Rizwan, meanwhile, remained unbeaten with 63 runs to help Pakistan secure two points and claim the top spot in the Super Four stage.

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Pakistan opted to bowl first after winning the toss and enjoyed early success when Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who had scored a century in the previous game for Bangladesh, was caught at mid-wicket by Naseem. He departed in the second over without scoring . Litton Das managed 16 runs, hitting four boundaries before edging behind off a Shaheen Shah Afridi delivery.

Rauf claimed his 50th ODI wicket when he cramped Mohammad Naim for room, causing a top-edge on a pull shot that was safely caught by the pacer. In the power-play, Rauf dismissed Towhid Hridoy’s stumps with a scorcher, leaving Bangladesh in dire straits at 47/4 in 9.1 overs.

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However, the experienced duo of Shakib and Mushfiqur joined forces to rescue Bangladesh’s innings. As the pace of Pakistan’s fast bowlers dropped in the intense Lahore heat, Shakib and Mushfiqur provided much-needed stability to the Bangladesh innings. Shakib survived a close call on 32 when Naseem dropped a straightforward return catch in the 20th over.

By combining boundary-hitting with effective strike rotation, Shakib reached his 54th ODI fifty, with the partnership surpassing the 100-run mark. However, Shakib’s dismissal for 53, pulling a Faheem short ball straight to deep mid-wicket, marked a turning point.

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Subsequently, Mushfiqur achieved his 46th ODI fifty, but Shakib’s departure opened the door for Pakistan to stage a comeback. Shamim Hossain mishit a slog off Iftikhar to the deep, followed by Mushfiqur nicking behind off Rauf. Rauf dismissed Taskin Ahmed for a golden duck, and Naseem took the remaining two wickets, keeping Bangladesh seven runs short of 200.

Pakistan’s chase got underway with Fakhar Zaman stylishly flicking Taskin Ahmed’s delivery for runs in the very first over. He narrowly escaped a potential catch at first slip off Shoriful Islam. The game was then briefly halted after floodlight failure. Imam began to assert himself by hitting three boundaries against Taskin. The Bangladesh bowlers bowled well to keep the Pakistani openers on edge.

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Bangladesh then got the breakthrough when Shoriful trapped Fakhar lbw after the latter scored 20 runs. However, Bangladesh exhausted both of their review opportunities within three overs while attempting lbw dismissals of Imam and Babar Azam. Taskin’s persistence with high-speed deliveries paid off when he bowled a fuller delivery that kept low and took an inside edge off Babar’s bat before crashing into the stumps.

Rizwan opened his account with a shot off Hasan Mahmud and followed it up with four more runs. Meanwhile, Imam narrowly survived a third lbw appeal and reached his 19th ODI fifty by lofting Mehidy’s delivery for a maximum. Rizwan and Imam combined to hit three fours and two sixes off Mehidy and Shakib, making Pakistan’s victory appear quite comfortable.

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However, Imam’s innings came to an end when he missed a slog attempt and was bowled by Mehidy, departing after scoring 78 runs from 84 balls. Rizwan continued his aggressive batting display, reaching his 11th ODI fifty. With valuable assistance from Agha Salman, who sealed the win with a boundary off a reverse-sweep, they successfully chased down the remaining runs, securing Pakistan’s seven-wicket win.

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