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Shakib, Sabbir fifties take Bangladesh to win

Bowlers, led by debutant Mustafizur Rahman, do the spadework before batsmen take Bangladesh to big victory

Shakib, Sabbir fifties take Bangladesh to win - Cricket News
Shakib-al-Hasan scored 57 off 41 balls.

Unbeaten half-centuries from Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman helped Bangladesh seal a comprehensive seven-wicket win in the one-off Twenty20 International against Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Friday (April 24).

Bangladesh, which swept the One-Day International series 3-0, did well to restrict Pakistan, which opted to bat, to a below-par 141 for 5. In reply, the Bangladesh batsmen overcame a slight stutter in the initial stages to wrap up victory with 22 balls to spare. While Shakib struck 57 from 41 balls, Sabbir made 51 from 32 balls for Bangladesh to register its first T20I win over Pakistan.

Bangladesh lost Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar, the openers, inside three overs. The in-form Tamim provided a brisk start to the chase, smashing two fours and a six in the first over, bowled by Mohammad Hafeez.

Pakistan got its first wicket out of nowhere. Tamim sent the ball to square leg for a single, and Sarkar, making his T20I debut, was a tad late to respond and found himself short, with Saeed Ajmal sending in a direct hit with only one stump to aim at.

Umar Gul then struck with his second ball when he elicited an edge off Tamim for Hafeez to take an easy catch at slip. Mushfiqur Rahim, the new man in, immediately got to business, hitting well-timed back-to-back boundaries through point. But Wahab Riaz ended his stint at the crease when Rahim played on.

That brought Sabbir to the middle, and he was exactly the partner Shakib needed in terms of support. The two added 105 runs for the fourth wicket, keeping things safe to start with in an effort to rebuild the innings. Attack was the name of the game after that as both batsmen laid into the Pakistan bowlers. Shakib’s 57 had nine hits to the fence while Sabbir struck seven fours and a six as Bangladesh reached the target in 16.2 overs.

Earlier, Pakistan was sensible at the start, with Ahmed Shehzad and Mukhtar Ahmed, the debutant, putting on 50 for the opening wicket. On a two-paced pitch, the openers initially failed to connect smoothly and didn’t really have a go. But they still ensured that there were boundaries almost every over.

Bangladesh had its breakthrough in the ninth over when Shehzad lofted Taskin Ahmed to the cover region and Mashrafe Mortaza, running across from long-off, took a brilliant diving catch.

Shahid Afridi’s brief stay at the crease yielded just 12 runs, including a huge six over the backward square-leg fence, but Mustafizur Rahman, who had conceded just five runs from his first two overs, had his maiden T20I wicket when Afridi was given out caught behind for 12.

There was more trouble for Pakistan after that. Mukhtar tried attacking Arafat Sunny but was stumped for a 30-ball 37 and from 50 for 1, Pakistan had slipped to 77 for 3 in 12.1 overs.

Haris Sohail and Hafeez rebuilt, picking up a boundary roughly every other over and putting on 49 off 34 balls. Hafeez made 26 before Mustafizur trapped him plumb in front, ending with impressive figures of 4-0-20-2. Pakistan’s scoring rate stalled thereafter as Shakib and Taskin kept things tight.

The two teams now play the first of two Tests in Khulna, starting Tuesday.

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.

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