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Pakistan Made To Work For Final Victory

Bangladesh pushed hard, but eventually Pakistan took a fairly comfortable four-wicket win with an over to spare in the final Group F Super Eight game in Cape Town. Chasing 141 to win, Shahid Afridi smashed 39 from 15 balls before Mohammad Ashraful introduced his spinners to the attack. Abdur Razzak (2-16), Shakib Al-Hasan (0-17) and Mahmadullah (1-28) bowled tightly to put the batsmen under pressure. Razzak removed dangermen Afridi, caught behind, and Yunus Khan, brilliantly stumped off a wide before Imran Nazir, returned after retiring hurt early on, to guide his side home, hitting a six and a four after Mahmadullah had had Shoaib Malik well caught on the boundary and Salman Butt was guilty of some sloppy backing up to run himself out. Earlier, an innings of 71 from 49 balls from debutant Zunaid Siddique had lit up proceedings as he played in a manner that belied his youth and inexperience. Without his brilliant strokeplay, Bangladesh would have got nowhere near their eventual 140. Shoaib Malik took two for 15 as spin prevailed, which served as a precursor for the Bangladesh spinners to make their mark later on, but unfortunately for them, Pakistan had slightly more depth to their batting and scored a win that secured them top spot in the group. © Cricket World 2007