Pakistan built, nearly self-destructed and counter-attacked with the bat. Bangladesh built, nearly self-destructed and counter-attacked with the bat. Pakistan’s base was strong enough to weather the near-self-destruction. Their counter-attack proved sharper in the end as they stopped hosts Bangladesh short of what would have been their highest successful chase at home.
Bangladesh produced most of the unexpected passages in the game. They reduced Pakistan to 198 for 7 from 135 for 0. They recovered from 135 for 5 to become the favourites towards the closing stages of the game. But when it came to the critical moments which decided the match, Pakistan proved superior.
Umar Gul smashed his highest ODI score of 39 from 25 deliveries to convert 198 for 7 into 262 for 8. With Bangladesh requiring 39 off 40 with five wickets in hand, Gul and Saeed Ajmal took 5 for 17 between them to ensure that Shakib Al Hasan’s heroic innings ended in frustration and disappointment.
Shakib had induced the Pakistan batting collapse, along with Shahadat Hossain. Like a fighter who has resolutely accepted the fact that he will always have to battle more than his fellow soldiers, he brought his side back into contention after they threatened to implode in the chase.
Young Nasir Hossain matched his former captain stroke for stroke in an 89-run sixth-wicket partnership at a run a ball. Shakib drove, Nasir pulled, Shakib slashed, Nasir pulled harder, and Bangladesh hoped.
When Nasir took consecutive fours off Gul in the 44th over, Bangladesh seemed to have moved decisively in front. Gul is made of sterner stuff, though. He found nip off the pitch and movement in the air with a 21-over old ball and bowled Nasir for 47. Ajmal, who had gone for 11 in the previous over, stepped in now.
With the asking-rate under six, Abdur Razzak decided to slog at a full delivery only to get bowled. Mashrafe Mortaza saw the flight but did not read the doosra. Bowled again. Shafiul Islam had two deliveries to keep out in the next over, the 46th. Gul hurled in the inswinging yorker first up. Gone leg-before.
A shocked Shakib steadied himself and squeezed the first ball of the next over, bowled by Ajmal, for four past point. With last man Shahadat at the other end, Shakib was forced to play out most of the over to keep strike for the 48th.
He tried to take two off the the first ball of the 48th but managed one. Shahadat blocked out the next five. The equation had rocketed to 22 off 12 by now. Shakib had no choice. He tried to slog Gul but only managed to play on. Game over.
Gul had earlier rescued Pakistan with the bat after they lost 7 for 63. He showed that his ODI batting average of 9.28 did not reflect his flicking and pulling capabilities. He savaged Mortaza for 16 runs in the 49th over, hitting the bowler for three consecutive boundaries in his lone counterattack.
Pakistan’s innings could be summed up as accumulation, panic and aggression. After Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed put on 135, Shahadat and Shakib brought Bangladesh back with a flurry of wickets before Gul hit back.
Pakistan would have never thought that they would need Gul to bail them out after the start given by Hafeez and Jamshed. Hafeez put his lean run against England behind him with a patient knock – his first fifty in ODIs in four months – and along with his latest opening partner, Jamshed, gave Pakistan a strong start to their Asia Cup campaign. Jamshed justified his selection ahead of Azhar Ali with a busy innings that afforded Hafeez the space to overcome his scratchy beginning. Shakib apart, Bangladesh’s attack was steady at best and allowed Hafeez to work himself into some form.
As Hafeez and Jamshed brought up their fifties, Bangladesh’s decision to bowl on the flat pitch seemed set to hurt them further, until Jamshed’s slow response to a call for a single gave them an opening. Bangladesh barged into it whole-heartedly as Pakistan’s batting crumbled without warning or justification.
Younis Khan succumbed to a leading edge off Shahadat after playing his flick early. Shahadat, who had been average till then, immediately found some menace and produced two sharp bouncers to lure Hafeez and Asad Shafiq into fatal pulls.
Umar Akmal, never one to change his hit-everything style, slog swept his wicket away to Shakib, who was to get more reward for being the bowler who troubled Pakistan the most. Shahid Afridi did not get the time to display his brand of hit-everything, as he bunted a return catch to Shakib first ball.
Drama has a way of somehow squeezing itself into everything Afridi is involved in. Shakib fumbled the catch on the first attempt, prevented the ball from touching the ground on the second, lobbed it up into Misbah-ul-Haq’s helmet and still had enough balance left to take the rebound on the third attempt. Misbah himself did not get the opportunity to use his crisis-recovery skills as he was soon bowled through the gate. Bangladesh were on top at that stage but would not have accounted for Gul the batsman.
Afridi had lasted one delivery with the bat but struck in successive overs to leave the new cautious avatar of Tamim Iqbal and the Bangladesh middle order with a climbing asking-rate. The hosts’ chase was on course at 90 for 1 in the 21st over when Afridi bowled Jahurul Islam and Mushfiqur Rahim in the space of five deliveries. Till Afridi’s strikes, Bangladesh had gone about the chase with unusual calm. With Tamim clearly looking to anchor the innings, Nazimuddin and Jahurul did the attacking.
Both batsmen were well-set when they gave away their wickets. Nazimuddin slashed a wide delivery to third man while Jahurul was bowled as he missed a slog off a flighted Afridi delivery. Afridi dealt a bigger blow to Bangladesh when he bowled Rahim who tried to cut his faster one.
At the other end, Tamim went on accumulating serenely, finding the boundary every now and then to keep the required-rate in check. He got to his fifty off his 75th delivery, but Hafeez further dented Bangladesh with a double strike. Tamim dinked an innocuous delivery onto his stumps, and Mahmudullah was adjudged leg-before first ball, though replays showed the ball would have missed leg stump.
At 135 for 5, Bangladesh were staring at a familiar ending, but Shakib was determined to swim against the tide. His misfortune was that, in the end, he was the only one with that resolve.
Asia Cup Bangladesh v Pakistan Full Score Card
Pakistan 262/8 (50 ov) vs Bangladesh 241 (48.1 ov)
Pakistan won by 21 runs
- Asia Cup – 1st Match
- ODI no. 3258 | 2011/12 season
- Played at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
- 11 March 2012 – day/night (50-over match)
|Pakistan innings (50 overs maximum)||R||M||B||4s||6s||SR|
|Mohammad Hafeez||c Shafiul Islam b Shahadat Hossain||89||153||126||7||0||70.63|
|Nasir Jamshed||run out (Shakib Al Hasan/†Mushfiqur Rahim)||54||120||64||5||1||84.37|
|Younis Khan||c Abdur Razzak b Shahadat Hossain||12||21||15||1||0||80.00|
|Umar Akmal||c Abdur Razzak b Shakib Al Hasan||21||34||20||2||0||105.00|
|Asad Shafiq||c Mashrafe Mortaza b Shahadat Hossain||4||10||6||0||0||66.66|
|Misbah-ul-Haq*||b Abdur Razzak||8||25||13||0||0||61.53|
|Shahid Afridi||c & b Shakib Al Hasan||0||4||1||0||0||0.00|
|Sarfraz Ahmed†||not out||19||43||28||0||0||67.85|
|Umar Gul||b Mashrafe Mortaza||39||31||25||5||1||156.00|
|Saeed Ajmal||not out||8||4||3||1||0||266.66|
|Extras||(lb 2, w 5, nb 1)||8|
|Total||(8 wickets; 50 overs)||262||(5.24 runs per over)|
|Did not bat Aizaz Cheema|
|Fall of wickets 1-135 (Nasir Jamshed, 27.5 ov), 2-160 (Younis Khan, 32.5 ov), 3-169 (Mohammad Hafeez, 34.4 ov), 4-175 (Asad Shafiq, 36.3 ov), 5-192 (Umar Akmal, 39.3 ov), 6-193 (Shahid Afridi, 39.6 ov), 7-198 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 41.2 ov), 8-251 (Umar Gul, 48.6 ov)|
|Shakib Al Hasan||10||0||41||2||4.10||(1w)|
|Shahadat Hossain||8||0||53||3||6.62||(1nb, 1w)|
|Bangladesh innings (target: 263 runs from 50 overs)||R||M||B||4s||6s||SR|
|Tamim Iqbal||b Mohammad Hafeez||64||116||89||6||1||71.91|
|Nazimuddin||c Umar Gul b Aizaz Cheema||30||41||33||4||1||90.90|
|Jahurul Islam||b Shahid Afridi||23||40||31||3||0||74.19|
|Mushfiqur Rahim*†||b Shahid Afridi||3||8||5||0||0||60.00|
|Shakib Al Hasan||b Umar Gul||64||130||66||4||0||96.96|
|Mahmudullah||lbw b Mohammad Hafeez||0||1||1||0||0||0.00|
|Nasir Hossain||b Umar Gul||47||70||49||3||1||95.91|
|Abdur Razzak||b Saeed Ajmal||1||6||3||0||0||33.33|
|Mashrafe Mortaza||b Saeed Ajmal||1||4||3||0||0||33.33|
|Shafiul Islam||lbw b Umar Gul||1||4||2||0||0||50.00|
|Shahadat Hossain||not out||0||13||7||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||(lb 2, w 5)||7|
|Total||(all out; 48.1 overs)||241||(5.00 runs per over)|
|Fall of wickets 1-45 (Nazimuddin, 10.5 ov), 2-90 (Jahurul Islam, 20.5 ov), 3-100 (Mushfiqur Rahim, 22.3 ov), 4-135 (Tamim Iqbal, 28.3 ov), 5-135 (Mahmudullah, 28.4 ov), 6-224 (Nasir Hossain, 43.3 ov), 7-228 (Abdur Razzak, 44.1 ov), 8-230 (Mashrafe Mortaza, 44.6 ov), 9-235 (Shafiul Islam, 45.5 ov), 10-241 (Shakib Al Hasan, 48.1 ov)|
|Toss Bangladesh, who chose to field
Points Pakistan 4, Bangladesh 0
|Player of the match Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan)|
|Umpires IJ Gould (England) and PR Reiffel (Australia)
TV umpire S Ravi (India)
Match referee DC Boon (Australia)
Reserve umpire Masudur Rahman
Toss: Mushfiqur Rahim has won the toss and Bangladesh will bowl first. He said the pitch is fresh and hence Bangladesh are playing three seamers. We will update the teams shortly.
Hello and welcome to the coverage of the opening match of the Asia Cup between Pakistan and Bangladesh in Mirpur. The toss is in ten minutes.
Typical subcontinent pitch. Should be full of runs, says Gavaskar. Bit of grass, but the wind might blow it away, he says.
Predictions of the match
Bangladesh’s and Pakistan’s last meeting seems like it happened yesterday. Not too long ago, Pakistan toured the country, winning all games quite comfortably, before heading to the UAE. There’s a chance they could face each other again shortly for another series of limited-overs games, in Pakistan, if the tour gets a go-ahead. Their meeting tomorrow is not a bilateral event, but a tournament which has been shoe-horned into an already cramped calendar. Seven games have been crammed into 12 days, with each team meeting the other once before the top two make the final. The flip side to such a format is that a poor start, or a surprise defeat could jeopardise a team’s chances of qualifying.
The head-to-head record suggests that Pakistan are overwhelming favourites. That’s what many would have predicted after they steamrolled England, the top Test side, 3-0 in the UAE. Yet, their 0-4 crash to the same team in the one-dayers confounded many, coming against a side which has traditionally under-performed in the shorter format.
Nevertheless, it was a wake-up call for Misbah-ul-Haq and the rest who took their foot off the pedal after the Test series. Perhaps they were homesick, or plain tired. In that sense, this Asia Cup assumes more context for Pakistan, who would want to sign off their season on a high, synonymous with their performance over the last year-and-a-half.
The Bangladesh players have been a busy bunch themselves. In a sense, the Asia Cup has been positioned aptly for the Bangladesh audience, who are just coming off the hangover of the Bangladesh Premier League. Whether the BPL will have a positive impact on Bangladesh’s stature as an international team or not is a discussion for another day.
The tournament has given local players a chance to mingle with internationals. Despite that, the performances of some of the local players were underwhelming. There was also some off-field drama, with Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, calling the BPL a “disorganised” tournament. Despite some of the farcical behind-the-scenes action causing the organisers a lot of embarrassment, the Bangladesh fans appear to be in a feel-good wave and their enthusiasm will be crucial even in matches not involving their team.
In the spotlight
Mashrafe Mortaza has made several comebacks from injury. Tomorrow, he opens yet another chapter. A knee injury sidelined him from the 2011 World Cup. He returned for the Australia ODIs shortly after but hasn’t played an international match since. He captained the Dhaka Gladiators to the BPL title, taking 10 wickets with a strike every 24 balls. His presence adds experience to the seam attack.
One of Pakistan’s most consistent batsmen in the last year, Mohammad Hafeez, has suddenly slipped. In the ODI series against England, Hafeez managed just 61 from four games. Pakistan will need him to play a steady hand at the top of the order.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at the Shere Bangla Stadium has a bit of grass, a deviation from the normally slow surfaces which have prompted captains to bring their spinners on from the second over.
All Bangladesh players are available for selection, but if the pitch continues to have that layer of grass, then the teams might be tempted to field an extra quick bowler. Bangladesh have recalled the batsman Jahurul Islam so there’s a chance for him to stake a claim in the middle order.
Sarfraz Ahmed will make a comeback as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper, after Adnan Akmal was left out.
Bangladesh (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mahmudullah, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt and wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Jahurul Islam, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Elias Sunny, 11 Shafiul Islam
Pakistan (likely) 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Azhar Ali, 3 Younis Khan 4 Umar Akmal 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Umar Gul, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Aizaz Cheema
Stats and trivia
Shahid Afridi is just one run away from 7000 ODI runs
Bangladesh’s first-ever one-day international was at the Asia Cup in 1986, incidentally, against Pakistan
Bangladesh have previously hosted two editions of the Asia Cup, in 1988-89 and 2000
“He’s the main player with both ball and bat, so we are focussing on him, but it is a team of 11. Anybody can contribute, so also have to have to a plan against every player.”
Misbah-ul-Haq knows Bangladesh rely heavily on Shakib Al Hasan.
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