Pakistan Qualify For Asia Cup Final, India Knocked Out

Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal celebrates after hitting the winning runs for Pakistan against Bangladesh
©REUTERS / Action Images
Ahmed Shehzad
Ahmed Shehzad rocks back during his innings of 103
©REUTERS / Action Images
Anamul Haque
Anamul Haque celebrates his century, although he would end up on the losing side
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan 329-7 (Ahmed Shehzad 103) beat
Bangladesh 326-3 by three wickets
Asia Cup game eight, Mirpur

Shahid Afridi blasted 59 in 25 balls as Pakistan overhauled a target of 327 to beat Bangladesh by three wickets with a ball remaining and set up an Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

At various points during this game, the reigning champions looked like they would struggle to get over the line but eventually held their nerve to end India's faint hopes of progressing.

Highest ODI scores batting first by teams that went on to lose the game

434-4: Australia v South Africa, 2006
359-5: Australia v India, 2013
350-6: Australia v India, 2013
346-5: Australia v New Zealand, 2007
336-4: Australia v New Zealand, 2007
333-6: England v Australia, 2011
331-7: Australia v New Zealand, 2005
329-6: Pakistan v India, 2012
328: India v Pakistan, 2006
328-5: New Zealand v Zimbabwe, 2011
327-8: England v Ireland, 2011
326-3: South Africa v Australia, 2002
326-3: Bangladesh v Pakistan, 2014

Bangladesh, humbled by Afghanistan in their previous game, came out fighting and Anamul Haque's century, allied with half-centuries from Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim helped them post 326 for three.

Shakib Al Hasan marked his return by hitting a quickfire 44 in 16 deliveries before Pakistan began their run chase in similar fashion.

Ahmed Shehzad struck 103, Mohammad Hafeez 52 and Fawad Alam 74 in 70 balls before they reached 225 for five in the 42nd over, seemingly out of the game.

Afridi, who blasted Pakistan to a one-wicket win over India to put Pakistan on the brink of qualifying for the final, stepped up and hit two fours and seven sixes to get them close again.

And although he fell in the 47th over, and Fawad would follow with two balls remaining, Umar Akmal hit the winning runs off Al-Amin Hossain.

He remained unbeaten on 14 in nine balls.

This was not a game for the bowlers with some 59 boundaries and 18 sixes being plundered by the batsmen.

Anamul and Kayes put on 150 together for the opening wicket, Anamul hitting 100 in 132 balls with six fours and four sixes an Kayes making 59 in 75 deliveries.

After Kayes was caught by Akmal off Mohammad Talha, Bangladesh accelerated with Mominul making 51 in 47 balls.

However, Mushfiqur and Shakib stepped up things even more when they came together with the former hitting 51 in just 33 balls and the latter cracking six fours and two sixes during his 44 in 16.

It helped Bangladesh post a new national record in an ODI, six runs better than their previous best against Zimbabwe and well in excess of 285, formerly their highest score against Pakistan.

Any celebrations for that achievement were to be short-lived, as under four hours later, they had lost the match.

Pakistan had only once successfully chased down more than 327 to win, achieved when they beat India in Peshawar in 2006, and on that occasion their actual target was reduced on the Duckworth/Lewis method.

Here, they also made an excellent start as openers Shehzad (103 in 123 balls) and Hafeez (52 in 55) put on 97 in 20 overs and four balls.

Bangladesh struck with three quick wickets as Mominul removed Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood (2) and Misbah-ul-Haq was bowled by Shakib for four.

A vital partnership between Shehzad and Fawad then took Pakistan to 210 for four in 38.3 overs when Shehzad departed, bowled by Abdur Razzak who speared the ball past the batsman as he made room for himself to play a big shot.

Abdur Rehman was sent in ahead of Afridi and Akmal but made just eight in as many balls before - perhaps for the best, from Pakistan's point of view - he was caught by Ziaur Rahman off Mahmudullah.

Afridi then joined forces with Fawad and unleashed a series of powerful strokes, two fours and seven sixes coming from his bat as he turned a game that was in Bangladesh's favour into one that Pakistan were just about in control of.

That control threatened to slip away when he set off for a quick single and was short of his ground when Shakib threw down the stumps.

The home crowd sensed it too, cheering Afridi's wicket as if Bangladesh had won the match.

There can't be too many regular eighth-wicket partnerships that boast the talent of Fawad and Akmal, and they soon settled the crowd down by putting on 31 runs, leaving themselves two to win with two balls remaining when Fawad was also run out.

Trying to run a bye as the ball went threw to wicket-keeper Anamul, they failed, leaving Fawad out short at the bowler's end but Akmal back on strike.

Al-Amin dropped short, Akmal picked it up and hit it over mid-wicket for four to send Pakistan through, and silence the crowd, ending an action-packed game in fitting style.

India take on Afghanistan tomorrow (5th March) before Bangladesh complete the group stages with a match against finalists Sri Lanka on Thursday (6th March).

© Cricket World 2014

Fixtures & Results
25th February: Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 296-6 (Thirimanne 102) beat
Pakistan 284 (Malinga 5-52) by 12 runs
26th February: Bangladesh v India
India 280-4 (Kohli 136, Rahane 73) beat
Bangladesh 279-7 (M Rahim 113) by 6 wickets
27th February: Afghanistan v Pakistan
Pakistan 248-8 (Umar Akmal 102no) beat
Afghanistan 176 (M Hafeez 3-29) by 72 runs
28th February: India v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 265-8 (Sangakkara 103) beat
India 264-9 (Dhawan 94) by 2 wickets
1st March: Bangladesh v Afghanistan
Afghanistan 254-6 (Asghar Stanikzai 90no) beat
Bangladesh 222 (Mominul Haque 50) by 32 runs
2nd March: India v Pakistan
Pakistan 249-9 (Mohammad Hafeez 75) beat
India 245-8 (Sharma 56) by one wicket
3rd March: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 253-6 (Sangakkara 76) beat
Afghanistan 124 (Mendis 3-11) by 129 runs
4th March: Bangladesh v Pakistan
Pakistan 329-7 (Ahmed Shehzad 103) beat
Bangladesh 326-3 by three wickets
5th March: Afghanistan v India
India 160-2 (Dhawan 60, Rahane 56) beat
Afghanistan 159 (Jadeja 4-30) by 8 wickets
6th March: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 208-7 (Mathews 74no) beat
Bangladesh 204-9 (Priyanjan 2-11) by 3 wickets
8th March: FINAL - Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 261-5 (Thirimanne 101) beat
Pakistan 260-5 (Malinga 5-56) by 5 wickets