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Bangladesh hold nerve to defeat Pakistan and cruise into Asia Cup final

Bangladesh hold nerve to defeat Pakistan and cruise into Asia Cup final
Soumya Sarkar scored 48 runs in the chase.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Bangladesh 131-5 (Sarkar 48) beat
Pakistan 129-7 (Sarfraz 58no) by five wickets
Eighth match, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Bangladesh progressed into the final of the 2016 Asia Cup, riding on a patient knock from Soumya Sarkar and unbeaten cameos from Mahmudullah and Mashrafe Mortaza as they chased down a target of 130 runs in 19.1 overs to complete a five-wicket win in the eighth match of the tournament in Mirpur.

Earlier in the day, an unbeaten fifty from Sarfraz Ahmed and a 30-ball 41 from Shoaib Malik helped Pakistan post 129 for seven after a slow start in the first 10 overs.

Pakistan won the toss and they opted to bat first. Taskin Ahmed (1-14) started perfectly by conceding just one-run in the first over while Al-Amin Hossain (3-25) stuck off his very first delivery in the second over to dismiss Khurram Manzoor (1), who was caught behind.

After hitting a six and a four, Sharjeel Khan (10) was castled by Arafat Sunny (2-35) in the fourth over while Mortaza (1-29) trapped Mohammad Hafeez (2) lbw in the fifth over.

Replays indicated that Hafeez was hard done by the umpire’s decision as the ball was shown to be missing the stumps.

Disciplined bowling by Bangladesh restricted Pakistan to 20 for three in the powerplay phase.
The hosts did not let go of the pressure and conceded only 14 more runs in the next four overs while accounting for the wicket of Umar Akmal (4), leaving Pakistan struggling at 34 for four at the halfway mark.

An excellent 70-run stand between Malik (41) and Sarfraz (58 not out) rescued Pakistan’s innings. The duo hit two sixes and three fours, scoring 45 runs in the next five overs.

Malik struck three more fours before he holed out to deep midwicket in the 17th over. In the next over, Shahid Afridi (0) fell for a two-ball duck but Sarfraz brought up his fifty in 40 balls and went on to push Pakistan’s total to 129 for seven in 20 overs.

Hossain was the best Bangladesh bowler with three wickets.

Bangladesh lost Tamim Iqbal (7) in the second over but Sarkar (48) and Sabbir Rahman (14) ensured that no more wickets fell till the end of the powerplay and took the score to 34 for one after six overs.

In his second over, Afridi (1-20) produced a lovely delivery to sneak through Rahman’s defences.

Bangladesh plundered 15 runs off the 10th over, leaving 65 runs to be scored from the last 10 overs.
A few tight overs later, Sarkar’s run-a-ball knock came to an end when he was castled by Mohammad Amir (2-26) in the 14th over.

A few balls later, Mushfiqur Rahim (12) aimed to reverse sweep Malik (1-3) but was trapped in front of the stumps. Mahmudullah (22 not out) struck a six but Shakib Al Hasan (8) looked to scoop Amir in the 18th over and was bowled.

Mortaza (12 not out) began his knock with a couple of fours, bringing the equation down to 18 runs from the last two overs.

In the penultimate over, Mortaza was caught at long off but Mohammad Sami (0-30) had overstepped much to the dismay of the Pakistan players. Sami, who conceded only 15 runs till then, gave away as many runs in his final over which included two no balls.

Mahmudullah finished the game by smacking a full toss from Anwar Ali (0-25) to the ropes, taking Bangladesh through to the final of the Asia Cup with a five-wicket win.

Once again, Amir was the best bowler for Pakistan with two wickets. Sarkar won the man of the match award.

© Cricket World 2016