Shaheen, Fakhar star as Pakistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets
By News Desk
October 31, 2023 10:47 AM
Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed three wickets while openers Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique cracked half-centuries as Pakistan stormed to a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh on Tuesday to stay afloat in the race for a World Cup semi-final place.
Shaheen's 3-23 helped Pakistan dismiss Bangladesh for just 204 in 45.1 overs before Zaman's 74-ball 81 and Shafique's 69-ball 68 guided Pakistan over the line for the loss of three wickets with 105 balls to spare.
The victory revived Pakistan's outside hopes of reaching the semi-finals with six points from seven matches.
They still need to win against New Zealand (November 4 in Bengaluru) and England (Kolkata on November 11) and also hope other results go their way if they are to stay in the tournament.
In contrast, Bangladesh became the first side to crash out of the 10-team event with just one win from seven games.
"We are trying to win our next two matches and let's see where we stand. We will take a lot of confidence into those matches," said Pakistan skipper Babar Azam who singled out Zaman for special praise.
"We know when Fahkar plays the way he can for 20-30 overs it is a different ball game. So we let him play his natural game and it is good to see."
Needing to improve their net run-rate, Zaman and Shafique cruised to 128 by the 22nd over.
Shafique hit nine boundaries and two sixes as he made his third half century in addition to a hundred in the tournament.
He fell leg-before to spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz while Azam holed out to the same bowler for nine.
Zaman, who recovered from a knee injury to replace Imam-ul-Haq in one of three changes for Pakistan, smashed seven sixes and three boundaries, his 16th ODI fifty, but first after 11 innings.
He holed out to Miraz in the 28th over but Mohammad Rizwan (26) and Iftikhar Ahmed (17) remained undefeated to complete the modest chase.
Miraz finished with 3-60, the only bright spot in Bangladesh's bowling.
"Two more matches hopefully we can bounce back. The fans supported us and are behind us whether we are doing well or not," said Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.
"We have to give something back to them so they can smile."
- Shaheen's 100th wicket -
Earlier, Shaheen and fellow fast bowlers Mohammad Wasim (3-31) and Haris Rauf (2-36) ripped through Bangladesh.
The pace trio were too hot to handle as Bangladesh struggled on a dry and slow Eden Gardens pitch.
Bangladesh, who won the toss and batted, only passed the 200-mark thanks to a solid 70-ball 56 from Mahmudullah, 45 by Liton Das and Shakib's 64-ball 43.
Shaheen struck with the fifth ball of his first over, trapping opener Tanzid Hasan right in front of the stumps and then saw Usama Mir clutch on to a flick off Najmul Hossain Shanto (four) in his next.
The first dismissal gave Shaheen his 100th wicket in his 51st one-day international, making him the 21st Pakistani bowler with a century of wickets.
Pace partner Haris made it 23-3 with the wicket of veteran Mushfiqur Rahim, caught behind for five in the sixth over.
It took a 79-run stand between Mahmudullah and Liton to carry Bangladesh to 102 when Iftikhar broke the stand with a soft dismissal of Liton, caught off a loose shot. Liton hit six boundaries in his 64-ball knock.
Shaheen came back for his second spell to finish off Mahmudullah, bowling him with a superb outswinger that hit the top of the off stump. Mahmudullah's knock had a six and six boundaries.
Shaheen joined Australian spinner Adam Zampa as the top wicket-taker at this World Cup with 16.
Shakib, who had a poor tournament with just 61 runs in five innings ahead of Tuesday's game, mistimed a hook off Rauf and was caught by Agha Salman after hitting four boundaries.
Miraz hit a six and a boundary to score a 30-ball 25 but Wasim removed him and then Taskin Ahmed (six) and Mustafizur Rahman (three) in successive overs as Bangladesh lost their last six wickets for 74 runs.
Pakistan was asked to take the field after Bangladesh won the toss in a crucial World Cup match being played at Eden Gardens in Kokata.
Pakistan faced Bangladesh in match number 31 of 2023 World Cup and a win will be critical for seventh-placed Men in Green, who are still in contention for a berth in the knockouts.
Pakistan made three changes in its team, bringing in Fakhar Zaman, Usama Mir and Salman Ali Agha in place of Imamul Haq, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan.
Speaking after winning the toss, Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said “They'll bat because it's a dry pitch and they have nothing to lose and can, hence, be positive. The biggest disappointment has been their inconsistency. One change made to the side: Mahedi not playing, Hridoy in.”
Pakistan captain Babar Azam said he'd have wanted to bat first also. “They were good in the last game but couldn't cross the line. Three changes were made to the team: Imam, Shadab and Nawaz are out.”
Pakistan need to win every match now and hope that other results also go their way to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages. A defeat will see them get eliminated.
But the 1992 champions will be more focused on the present than the past with their Cup campaign on the brink of collapsing after four costly losses in a row. A fifth consecutive defeat for Pakistan would all but put a stamp on their elimination from the showpiece event in India.
Babar Azam and Co. began their campaign with an 81-run win against Netherlands, and then made it back-to-back with a six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka. But their winning run came to a shocking end, as they crashed to a seven-wicket defeat against India in their next match, followed by a 62-run loss vs Australia. In their last two matches, Pakistan crashed to defeats against Afghanistan and South Africa.
On the other hand, Bangladesh began their campaign with a win against Afghanistan. But since then, they have failed to register a single win, dropping to ninth place in the standings. Shakib Al Hasan and Co. defeated the Afghans by six wickets in their opener, but then lost to England by 137 runs in their next game.
In their third match, they lost once again to New Zealand, by eight wickets. In their last three matches, they lost to India (by seven wickets), South Africa (by 149 runs) and Netherlands (by 87 runs).
Both sides have faced each other in 38 ODI matches, with Pakistan leading 33-5.
Head-to-head in ODI World Cup history
Pakistan and Bangladesh have faced each other two times in ODI World Cup history, and both sides have won one match each.
All BD guns blazing
Three of Bangladesh's four all-time top ODI run scorers - Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah - are part of the present squad.
Pakistan coach Grant Bradburn has said his squad is determined to rescue their faltering Cup campaign when they meet Bangladesh.
“To prepare ourselves and give our best are the things that we focus on, the things within our control and there are great expectations and we’re desperate to make our nation proud,” Bradburn told reporters.
He said the team is hurting from their woeful campaign where wins over the Netherlands and Sri Lanka have been followed by defeats to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa. “We’re in a position that we didn’t want to be,” said Bradburn, whose team also has a poor net run-rate of -0.38.
“We were determined at this stage of the tournament to be in control of our destiny but we’re not.
“That hurts the group and all we can do now is control what we can control, and that is prepare well for three remaining pool games and then allow fate to be hopefully leaning on us in terms of our semifinal hopes from there.”
Bradburn said Bangladesh will be a tough challenge even though the Tigers have lost five out of six and will definitely be eliminated if they lose again on Tuesday.
The pitch in Kolkata is generally good for batting, but in the last match at this venue, Bangladesh failed to chase down a 230-run target against the Netherlands. Fast bowlers enjoyed a lot of success in that match at Eden Gardens.
The skies will be sunny in Kolkata at the start of this match. As the game progresses, the sky will remain clear, with the temperature staying between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius. There is a negligible chance of rain today in Kolkata.
Although Pakistan are on a four-match losing streak, they will start as the favourites to win against Bangladesh. The Babar Azam-led outfit was quite close to defeating South Africa in their previous game.
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
Bangladesh squad: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Kumer Das, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (vc), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.