Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pak stay afloat

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Kolkata, Oct 31: Fakhar Zaman scored a rapid 81 as Pakistan raced to a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in the World Cup.
Set 205 to win, Fakhar and Abdullah Shafique put on 128 to help Pakistan surge to victory in 32.3 overs.
Shaheen Afridi earlier took his 100th one-day international wicket as he spearheaded a fantastic bowling effort to bowl Bangladesh out for 204.
Bangladesh’s sixth straight loss means they are the first side officially out of semi-final contention.
Tigers captain Shakib Al Hasan opted to bat first at the toss, but his side were soon in trouble as Shaheen trapped Tanzid Hasan lbw fifth ball to claim his landmark wicket.
Shaheen struck again in his next over; and when Haris Rauf removed Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh were 23-3.
Mahmudullah and Liton Das led the recovery, but the former was bowled by a beauty from Shaheen soon after reaching his half-century and wickets continued to fall at regular intervals before Mohammad Wasim took three in seven reverse-swinging balls to wrap up the innings.
After a frenetic start, Pakistan soon settled into their chase and Fakhar – recalled for his first game since Pakistan’s opening match against the Netherlands – showed his intent with a monstrous six over the leg side off Taskin Ahmed.
He proceeded to hit a further six maximums before he holed out off Mehidy Hasan Miraz 19 runs shy of a century.
By that stage, the result was a formality and Muhammad Rizwan hit the winning runs with 105 balls to spare.Coming into this World Cup, Pakistan were seen as genuine contenders for the trophy.
While this dominant win keeps them in the hunt for a semi-final place, they have so far fallen well short of expectations.
A much-vaunted pace attack has failed to fire, particularly up front.
At Eden Gardens on Tuesday, they finally came to the party with Shaheen the star of the show.The left-armer’s potency with the new ball has been part of what has made Pakistan such a threat in white-ball cricket in recent times.However, despite taking 13 wickets prior to the Bangladesh game, he has lacked the zip that makes him so special since returning from a knee injury.This time he looked somewhere close to his best as he claimed two wickets in his first two overs and Rauf also struck in the powerplay.
There was less threat through the middle overs, but a little Shaheen magic did for Mahmudullah and Rauf bounced out the other key batter, Shakib.Once the ball started to reverse swing, Pakistan’s seamers were in their element and Bangladesh were forced into survival mode.They didn’t last long. Mohammad Wasim clinically mopped up the tail to leave Pakistan with a very modest target. (Agencies)

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