Pakistan-snap Bad Luck In T20Is With Slight Win > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Pakistan snap losing streak in T20Is with easy win
Malik anchored the innings with a crucial fifty
Pakistan snapped their five-match losing streak in T20Is with a comfortable five-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. Restricting the visitors to a modest 141/5 from their allotted overs, through a solid comeback with the ball in the second half of their bowling innings, Pakistan were in a spot of bother losing two early wickets, of which their captain fell off the second ball of the chase. But Shoaib Malik put all his international experience to good use to guide the chase, stitching a match-winning partnership with debutant Ahsan Ali.
It wasn't Pakistan's game all the way though...Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat on the sun-baked pitch that promised a lot of runs. Babar Azam said they would have done the same. But the two teams soon found out that the runs would be difficult to come by. So would be the wickets. Which made the half-century opening stand between the Bangladesh openers all the more vital to their chances. Mohammad Naim kicked off with two boundaries in the Shaheen Afridi over and topped it off with a four more and a six off Mohammad Hasnain. Tamim Iqbal too joined the fun as the pair added 71 runs in 10.5 overs.
So where did Bangladesh lose track?In showing no urgency in their scoring. And then showing a lot of it suddenly.
Pakistan managed to rack up a few dots in the powerplay and even afterwards, but the lack of urgency from the Bangladesh openers to step on the gas despite the promising start held them back. And when they did realise this, the unnecessarily risky chance to convert a one into two - when there wasn't a second run there - cost them the wicket of a set batsmen, Tamim Iqbal. Naim and Liton Das briefly collaborated but another run out put an end to that enterprising stand, this time though it was a brilliant direct hit from the bowler himself, Shadab Khan, that caught Das marginally short of his crease.
Next was Naim's glory shot that cost Bangladesh. Despite having lost a wicket off the previous ball, the set batsman tried to take on Shadab by going down town only to miscue his lofted shot to the long-on fielder as Bangladesh slipped to 98/3.
Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi join the party
The duo shared the four death overs between them, but struck at regular intervals to rob Bangladesh of the momentum to post a competitive score. Rauf knocked back Afif Hossain's middle stump with a 144kmph delivery as the batsmen swung wildly across the line. Seven balls later, Soumya Sarkar walked back after a well-disguised slower delivery from Afridi crashed into the top of his legstump. If it wasn't for a brief cameo of Mahmudullah, Bangladesh wouldn't have managed the 141 that they did eventually.
How did Pakistan get the chase going?With an ill-advised DRS, to no avail
An overtly confident Babar Azam challenged the on-field caught behind decision, only to be left embarrassed. He believed he hadn't edged it, when in fact the UltraEdge spotted a big spike to vindicate the on-field call. The catch behind the stumps was clean, and Shafiul had already forced a breakthrough. On a tricky pitch, Pakistan lost their opener, captain and DRS off just the second ball of the chase.
Hafeez shows the way, Ahsan steps up to the plate
Returning to the T20I set up after a hiatus, Mohammed Hafeez put on the first runs on the board for Pakistan - displaying his class with a beautifully timed backfoot drive for four. He picked up two more boundaries off Mustafizur, not allowing the pacer to settle into his rhythm early on. When Bangladesh managed to sneak in a couple of quiet overs within the powerplay, Ahsan Ali stepped up and hit Mustafizur for back to back boundaries to arrest the spiking asking rate. Hafeez's dismissal to a Mustafizur slower off-cutter in the fifth over, followed by a one-run over next, brought the pressure back on Pakistan who finished the powerplay with just 36 on the board and for the loss of two big wickets.
The Malik-Ahsan 'single' show
Just like the man he was replacing in the middle, Shoaib Malik too kicked on in style upon his T20I comeback. Bangladesh introduced part-timer Soumya Sarkar into the attack in order to force another wicket, but the move backfired as Malik hit him for a couple of delectable boundaries. It would be 30 balls before the next dot ball. 28 of those 30 were put away for singles - and the two in between fetched a boundary for each of the two batsmen - as Pakistan kept chipping away at the total.
Malik seals the deal
The dot, when it eventually came, cost Pakistan Ahsan's wicket. The opener lost his patience, at long last, and with that his wicket as he decided to take on a generously tossed up legbreak delivery from Aminul Islam. He attempted to loft it back over the bowler's head, lost control of his drive and sliced it straight to long-off instead. Left to get 60 from the final 8 overs though, Malik brought all his experience to the fore and despite losing two more partners at the other end, marched on to his eighth T20I fifty in the 18th over. The two setbacks notwithstanding, Malik's single-handedly pulled down the asking rate to below six an over before Mohammad Rizwan hit the winning runs with three balls to spare.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 141/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Naim 43, Tamim Iqbal 39; Shaheen Afridi 1-23, Shadab Khan 1-26) lost to Pakistan 142/5 in 19.3 overs (Shoaib Malik 58*, Ahsan Ali 36; Shafiul Islam 2-27) by five wickets.
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