A poor death bowling show caused Bangladesh’s four-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the opening game of the three-match T20 International series yesterday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Bangladesh put them on top, leaving Pakistan 24-4 in sixth over despite compiling a below par 127-7. But Pakistan batters, led by Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah firstly brought the side back in the contest before a late blitz from Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz saw them to cruise to the victory with 132-6 in 19.2 overs.
Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah made 34 runs and combined for a 56-run partnership for the fifth wicket after the early collapse.
The duo were removed in quick succession with Fakhar chasing a wide delivery of fast bowler Taskin Ahamed to edge to wicket-keeper Nurul Hasan and Khushdil was undone by a slower outside off by pacer Shoriful Islam.
With Pakistan at 96-6, Bangladesh again sensed a victory to quell the agony of the Twenty20 World Cup, where they produced their worst ever result, losing all of the five matches in the Super 12s and a shock defeat to Scotland in the qualifying round.
But fluent batting of Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz helped Pakistan ease the tension as they plundered Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam all corner of the park effortlessly.
Mustafizur who gave away just three runs in his first two overs with a wicket, conceded 23 runs in his last two overs. Shoriful though dismissed Khushdil Shah to give Bangladesh hope, failed to continue his aggression as Shadab and Nawaz plundered him for 15 runs in the penultimate over.
Shadab Khan struck an unbeaten 21 off 10 with slog-sweeping leg-spinner Aminul Islam Biplob over deep midwicket for a winning six.
Aminul, one of the specialist bowlers of Bangladesh, only came to bowl in the last over when Pakistan needed two runs for the victory. Nawaz remained unbeaten on 18 off 8 with one four and two sixes.
By denying Aminul to bowl, Bangladesh team management showed the lack of faith on a leg-spinner again when these types bowlers have been ruling this format of late.
Pakistan made a cautious start in the slow pitch before fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman rattled the stump Rizwan for 11 and captain Babar Azam dragged one on to his stump, giving Bangladesh an early edge.
Bangladesh then took the full control when offspinner Mahedi Hasan trapped Haider Ali leg-before for naught and Shoaib Malik was run out comically, also for duck.
But the hosts failed to keep up that pressure for longer period.
Earlier, Bangladesh put up a lackluster batting despite sweeping changes to the squad after a disappointing Twenty20 World Cup.
The hosts came up in the match with four changes from the World Cup side but couldn’t show anything worthy in a home pitch,that was way batter than that of the series against Australia and New Zealand.
Afif Hossain top-scored for the side with 36 off 34 with two fours and as many sixes and was key in helping Bangladesh to propel past 100 which looked unlikely at one phase. Mahedi Hasan was unbeaten on 30 off 20, hitting one four and two sixes while Nurul Hasan Sohan scored 22 ball-28 with two sixes.
These three batsmen indeed reached double digit figure as Bangladesh opted to bat first.
Bangladesh’s new opening pair Naim Sheikh and Saif Hassan, who was handed debut could sustain for seven balls before the former was dismissed for 1. Saif on his debut also scored 1 and Najmul Hossain Shanto, who was recalled to the side made 7.
Their departure left Bangladesh in tricky 15-3 and soon it was made 40-4 when captain Mahmudullah Riyad was dismissed for 6.
Thereafter the trio of Afif, Sohan and Mahedi saved the side, who was bowled out below 100 in the last two matches, from ultimate blushes.
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali claimed 3-22 while Mohammad Wasim, one of the four changes of Pakistan from the World Cup team, took his career-best 2-24. Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan picked up one wicket apiece.