Bangladesh’s winning streak against Pakistan in limited over cricket came to an abrupt end as they suffered a 55-run loss at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The Tigers were thrown out of the contest once Pakistan posted 201-5, a score too big to topple for any side on such a big occasion irrespective of nature of the wicket.
Bangladesh eventually ended up with 146-6 for a huge loss, which severely dented their hopes of reaching to semi-final as it did a significant damage to their run rate as well.
In pursuit of such big target they needed an explosive start from the openers but Soumya Sarkar ruined that prospect by being dismissed in the very first over.
Soumya’s footwork was dreadful in the last qualifier against Oman and he could do no better in this match. Mohammad Amir beat Soumya in the first ball he faced and left his off-stump cart-wheeling in the next ball to spare him from more embarrassment.
Sabbir Rahman timed very well to stroke five boundaries and scored 25 before he played one of Shahid Afridi too soon to be bowled after facing 19 balls. Despite a relative slow start Bangladesh were still in the game as long of as in form Tamim Iqbal was at the crease.
The left-hander, who scored 233 runs in three qualifiers, signaled to change the gear hoisting Shoaib Malik for a six over cover to reduce some pressure of the high required run rate.
Afridi scalped the prized wicket of Tamim on 24 to end the game as contest before Sakib al Hasan salvaged some pride with an unbeaten 50 off 40 balls.
Afridi earlier took the game beyond Bangladesh’s reach with 49 off 19 balls as Pakistan got more than what they had expected of after electing to bat first.
Bangladesh’s poor bowling also helped Pakistani batsman to take the control of the game from the beginning. Taskin Ahmed conceded just six runs in the first over but Al-Amin Hossain gave Sharjeel Khan to sumptuous ball in the left-handed batsman’s strong zone in the next over to receive two sixes.
Replacing Taskin after his first over Arafat Sunny bowled Sharjeel but Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez put 95 runs in the second wicket to lay the foundation for a big total.
Both Shehzad and Hafeez struck fifties, rotated the strike beautifully and dispatched every odd delivery for four or sixes, keeping Pakistan’s run rate always on the high.
Occasional leg-break bowler Sabbir Rahman broke the stand when he forced a catch from Shehzad to Mahmudullah at midwicket after the opener made 52 off 39 balls.
It was the perfect platform for Afridi to try his luck after his last two Asia Cup innings yielded him just two runs. He promoted himself up and Mashrafee fed him with one down the leg side immediately.
Afridi whipped it to fine leg boundary for four to take some confidence he badly needed.
He added a quick-fire 42 runs off just 20 balls with Hafeez for the third wicket before a brilliant Soumya Sarkar gave Bangladesh a rare occasion to celebrate in the game.
Hafeez returned after making 64 off 42 balls but Afridi stayed till the final over, cashing in on Bangladesh’s poor bowling.