1st T20I Pakistan v Bangladesh - A close game without the drama
A smart unbeaten 58 off 45 balls by veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik, saw Pakistan home in the final over to go one -up in the three-match T20I series at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Pakistan 142 - 5
Bangladesh 141 - 5
Result - Pakistan won by 5 wickets
Bangladesh opting to best were given a good foundation with a 71-run opening stand in 11 overs by left-handers, Tamim Iqbal (39) and Mohammad Naim (43). Naim hit a six over long-off off Mohammad Hasnain in the fourth over but a disciplined work by Pakistan in the field stopped the opposition to run away with it. The all-round value of Shadab Khan was on display as he conceded just 26 runs in 4 overs and also ran out Liton Das with a brilliant fielding off his own bowling.
At the end of 15 overs, the score stood at 100-3 and acceleration required from the middle order. Bangladesh’s search for a big over was all in vain as their final total of 141-5 off 20 overs was at least 25-30 runs short on this dry wicket and quick outfield at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
In reply Pakistan lost its captain Babar Azam, caught off the inside edge to the wicket-keeper off Shafiul Islam, without scoring and Mohammad Hafeez caught off the top edge for 17 off 16 balls to leave the score on 35-2 after 5 overs. Fifty mark was reached in 7.3 overs and at the half way stage Pakistan were comfortably placed on 68-2. Shoaib Malik, now into his fourth decade of international cricket, having made his debut back in 1999.
Opening batsman Ahsan Ali’s 36 off 32 balls on his international debut came to an end when he holed out in the deep in the 11th over, when Pakistan were cruising to their target. The run-rate was never challenging enough to do anything silly and Shoaib dropped off a skier on the stroke he reached his fifty was in control for the best part of his innings.
The home selectors, quite rightly, have faced criticism of the 15-man squad for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh, on its first tour of Pakistan since 2008. On one hand, the in-form paceman Mohammad Amir at present playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was dropped and on the other side two veteran all-rounders – Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez – have been recalled.
Eight defeats in the last nine T20I, including a whitewash against Sri Lanka on a home soil, forced Misbah-ul-Haq to take a u-turn, which was unexpected. Surely it would have made more sense to include few more youngsters in view of the T20 World Cup in nine months’ time in Australia. Ahsan Ali as an opening batsman and paceman Haris Rauf, with well-documented exploits in Big Bash in Australia, were the two T20I debutantes in Pakistan’s playing eleven today.
Pakistan - Babar Azam(c), Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das(wk), Mahmudullah(c), Mohammad, Mithun, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Shafiul Islam, Aminul Islam, Afif Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain
Start Time: 09:00
Toss: Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat
Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
Officials: Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza, Ahmed Shahab, Tariq Sheikh, Ranjan Madugalle
©Cricket World 2020