Fakhar Zaman, pacers inspire Pakistan to 7-wicket victory over Bangladesh

Kolkata, West Bengal, October 31: Riding on Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique’s half-centuries and bowlers’ brilliance Pakistan registered a 7-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.

With this brilliant victory, Pakistan broke their four-match losing streak in the ongoing tournament, moving up to 5th in the points table with 6 points. Meanwhile, the ODI World Cup semifinal dream remained unfulfilled for Bangladesh.

Openers Zaman and Shafique scored 81 and 68 respectively while Mohammad Rizwan slammed an unbeaten 26, guiding their team to a 7-wicket triumph. For Bangladesh, Mehidy Hasan Miraz bagged a three-wicket haul.

Chasing a small total of 205, Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman was unstoppable in the opening Powerplay. During this time, the southpaw slammed four borders. This contained two outstanding sixes off Taskin Ahmed and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, respectively.

He got good support from his partner, Abdullah Shafique, who garnered four stylish fours of his own in the first 10 overs.

Zaman and Shafique made the most of a solid batting pitch and an excellent outfield. As Bangladesh’s shoulders sank, they churned out a series of fours and sixes. In overs 11-20, the partnership added 72 runs, including five sixes.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz finally broke the deadlock for Pakistan in the 22nd over, catching Abdullah Shafique leg before for 68. Fakhar and Babar Azam, on the other hand, kept Pakistan on track.

Mehidy struck again after the mid-innings mark to remove both Fakhar and Babar, but Pakistan had already surpassed Bangladesh’s objective.
Pakistan cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket win in a game that finished in the 33rd over of their innings.

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Earlier, Pakistan pacers Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf with sensational spells wreaked havoc on Bangladesh batters to restrict the Bangla Tigers to a low total of 204.

Wasim Jr and Shaheen Afridi were the chief destructive duo as they bagged three-wicket hauls respectively while pacer Haris Rauf came together to help the Men in Green bowl Bangladesh out for a low total.

For Bangladesh, Litton Das and Shakib Al Hasan scored 45 and 43 respectively while Mahmudullah (56) was the only batter to score half-century in the match.

Put to bowl first, Pakistan were exactly on target thanks to an explosive spell from Shaheen Afridi. Off the fifth ball of the game, he pinned Tanzid Hasan’s leg. The hitter reviewed, and it was discovered that the ball had clipped the top of his leg stump.

Shaheen got the out-of-form Najmul Hossain Shanto caught at forward square leg in the very next over. Pakistan made their second breakthrough when Usama Mir took a sharp catch at the spot.

Litton Das attempted to quicken Bangladesh’s pace by hitting a flurry of boundaries against Haris Rauf. The bowler, however, got the last laugh when he got the seasoned Mushfiqur Rahim to nick one behind the wicket. Mushfiqur was replaced by Mahmudullah, an in-form veteran who ensured the Tigers didn’t get too bogged down by the early damage.

Following the first Powerplay, Das and Mahmudullah took over and set a string of boundaries. Their determination was aided by some wayward Pakistani bowling. Between overs 11 and 20, the duo averaged nearly six runs per over.

Das lost his wicket as he chipped one of his deliveries to the mid-wicket fielder.

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Bangladesh batted cautiously over the following few overs as Shakib Al Hasan attempted to break in. Mahmudullah (56) was cleaned up by a beauty from Afridi just as the batters appeared to be getting set.

Tawhid Hridoy struck a six off his first ball. This daring cost him his wicket the very next delivery, when he nicked Usama Mir to first slip. Bangladesh regained control in the 37th over when Shakib smashed a hat-trick of boundaries against Iftikhar Ahmed.

Any hopes of a Bangladesh comeback were dashed, however, when Shakib mistimed a lift off Haris Rauf and fell for 43. Bangladesh reached 200 runs thanks to a stand between Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Taskin Ahmed, but blows from Mohammad Wasim ended their stay at the crease.

Brief score: Bangladesh 204 (Litton Das 45, Mahmudullah 56; Shaheen Afridi 3-23) vs Pakistan 205/3 (Abdullah Shafique 68, Fakhar Zaman 81; Mehidy Hasan Miraz 3-60).

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