Pakistan beat Bangladesh to qualify for Super 8’s
25/9/12- Pakistan 178-2 18.4 overs (Nazir 72, Hafeez 45) beat Bangladesh 175-6 20 overs (Shakib 84, Arafat 3-25) by 8 wickets @ Pallekele
Pakistan have beaten Bangladesh in Pallekele by 8 wickets, qualifying for the Super 8’s and knocking the Tigers out in the process.
The Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and elected to bat first, which meant that to qualify for the Super 8’s, they had to win by at least 36 runs which would have put them through ahead of Pakistan on net run rate. Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful got their side off to a quick start, before the latter was bowled in the 4th over with the score on 34. In spite of that wicket, Bangladesh had a very productive powerplay, until on the penultimate ball of it, Shakib al Hasan called Iqbal through for a run, before sending him back, which left him stranded, as Mohammad Hafeez easily ran him out. After a very good start for the Tigers, it was a brainless spell of cricket.
However, the former skipper would end up redeeming himself. He dominated a partnership of 68 with the current captain, going to just his second International Twenty 20 half century, coming off of just 33 balls, as Bangladesh looked to post a competitive score. Former Surrey all rounder Yasir Arafat dismissed Rahim, before Shahid Afridi had Mahmudullah caught second ball, as Pakistan began to pull things back. But Shakib was still going, and after he was out for a wonderful 84 in the final over, his side had posted 175-6 off their 20 overs.
That score meant that Pakistan had two totals to chase. They would obviously try and win the game, as keeping up momentum is key in a T20 tournament, but if they started to struggle, they knew that if they managed to reach 140, then they would be through to the Super 8’s.
And after the start they had, it never looked in doubt. They flew to 64 without loss of their powerplay, the highest score off the opening 6 overs in the tournaments so far, thanks to some wayward bowling from Bangladesh, with one Shafiul Islam over going for 20. Imran Nazir was looking particularly impressive, as he dominated the opening stand with his captain, reaching his 50 off just 25 balls, which was also the quickest of the tournament so far and the second quickest by a Pakistani batsman in Twenty20 Internationals.
He couldn’t see his side home though, as he was caught at long off for a sublime 72, hitting 9 fours and 3 huge sixes overall. But Jamshed and Kamran Akmal did manage to see them through, as Pakistan got to the total required to qualify inside 16 overs, and won the game by 8 wickets in the 19th over.
So a very good win for Pakistan, taking them through to the Super 8’s stage. It is always a hard task to chase down a score as large as 176, whatever opposition you are facing, and they did it fantastically well. It was the largest successful chase by Pakistan in T20 history. Their batting looks one of the most explosive out of all the teams, but their bowling, especially from the seamers, have let them down so far. The usually superb Umar Gul conceded 43 off just 3 overs, so they will need to rectify that as they will now face arguably 3 of the better teams in the competition in the Super 8’s; India, Australia and South Africa.
Man of the Match: Imran Nazir for his fantastic innings of 72. He looks a very, very dangerous player, and if he continues with this form, he may single handily take Pakistan far in this competition.