NEW DELHI: Pakistan kept their hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup alive after a dominant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Bangladesh, opting to bat first, struggled to recover from an early top-order collapse and could only muster a modest total of 204 runs before being all out in the 46th over at the Eden Gardens.
PAK vs BAN: AS IT HAPPENED
Pakistan’s three-pronged pace attack made a strong impression, both with the new ball and during the death overs. Only Mahmudullah managed to score a half-century for Bangladesh, reaching 56 runs.
Openers Fakhar Zaman (81) and Abdullah Shafique (68) put together a commanding 128-run partnership, setting the stage for Pakistan’s comfortable win, achieved with 17.3 overs to spare. This victory significantly improved their net run-rate.
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With this win, Babar Azam’s team climbed to fifth place in the points table, marking their third win in seven matches.
Head coach Grant Bradburn had expressed concerns about the lack of swing in India affecting Pakistan’s pace attack, which is typically their strong suit. However, in this match, Bradburn would have been pleased to see the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim, and Haris Rauf collectively taking eight of the 10 Bangladesh wickets.
Left-arm quick Afridi (3-23) made an early breakthrough by dismissing Tanzid Hasan lbw for his 100th ODI wicket with just his fifth delivery. In the following over, Afridi claimed the wicket of Najmul Hossain Shanto, and Bangladesh slumped to 23-3 after Haris Rauf (2-36) had Mushfiqur Rahim caught behind in the sixth over.
While Litton Das (45) and Mahmudullah attempted to stabilize the innings, Bangladesh couldn’t find the momentum they needed. Although skipper Shakib Al Hasan contributed 43 runs, Mohammad Wasim’s three wickets in his last seven deliveries accelerated Bangladesh’s downfall.
Fakhar Zaman, who had replaced Imam-ul-Haq at the top of the order, found his form, and he and Abdullah took control of the game right from the beginning. Abdullah reached his fifty with a single off Taskin Ahmed, and Fakhar celebrated his own half-century by smashing a six over the bowler’s head.
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (3-60) dismissed Abdullah lbw, a decision upheld after a review by the batter. Babar Azam gave away his wicket, and though Fakhar, who hit seven sixes, missed out on a century, Pakistan’s victory was just a matter of time by then.
Watch World Cup 2023: Pakistan end losing streak, beat Bangladesh by 7 wickets