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Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan off to a Flying Start in Super 4 as Bangladesh Crumble

Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by 7 wickets.

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Haris Rauf picked a fiery four-wicket haul in his six overs in leading Pakistan to bowl out Bangladesh for just 193, followed by Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Rizwan slamming fifties to help Pakistan cruise to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the first match of Super Four stage of the 2023 Asia Cup, at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday, 6 September.

On a flat pitch, Rauf’s raw pace thunderbolts made him a standout bowler for Pakistan, taking figures of 4-17. Naseem Shah, despite a right shoulder injury scare, picked 3-34, followed by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Iftikhar Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf taking a wicket each in setting the base for Pakistan’s win.

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For Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim slammed knocks of 53 and 64 respectively, while adding 100 runs for the fifth wicket after being 47-4 at one point. But once Shakib fell, Bangladesh’s innings fell apart and crumbled to a below-200 score, with last four wickets falling in nine balls.

In the chase, Imam survived a testing opening spell to make 78, his fifth ODI fifty in last eight innings. On the other hand, Rizwan finished unbeaten on 63 not out for Pakistan to pick two points and sit quickly on top of Super Four stage, leaving the sell-out crowd at the stadium jubilant.

Pushed into bowling first, Pakistan fetched early success when Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Bangladesh’s last game’s centurion chipped straight to mid-wicket off Naseem, falling for a golden duck in the second over.

Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by 7 wickets.

Haris Rauf scalped a four-fer for Pakistan.

(Photo: PTI)

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Litton Das smashed four boundaries in his 13-ball 16 before getting a faint edge behind on a Shaheen delivery which bounced extra and was caught by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan. Rauf then took his 50th ODI wicket when he cramped Mohammad Naim for room and top-edge on the pull was caught safely by the pacer.

He signed off from power-play by castling Towhid Hridoy’s stumps with a 145kph delivery to leave Bangladesh in trouble at 47-4 in 9.1 overs. Shakib and Mushfiqur, the two veteran players, combined to pull Bangladesh out of trouble.

With pace dropping of Pakistan fast bowlers in the harsh Lahore heat, it gave chance to Shakib and Mushfiqur to give the Bangladesh innings much-needed stability. Shakib also survived a scare on 32 as Naseem dropped a simple return catch in the 20th over. 

Hitting boundaries at a decent pace coupled with strike rotation, Shakib brought up his 54th ODI fifty, as well as the partnership crossing 100-run mark. But Shakib shortly fell for a 57-ball 53, pulling straight to deep mid-wicket off a Faheem short ball at the stroke of drinks break.

Soon, Mushfiqur reached his 46th ODI fifty, but Shakib’s exit had opened the gate Pakistan needed to claw back. Shamim Hossain miscued a slog off Iftikhar to the deep, followed by Mushfiqur nicking behind off Rauf. The pacer would take out Taskin Ahmed for a golden duck, before Naseem took the remaining two wickets to keep Bangladesh seven runs below 200.

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Comfortable Chase for Pakistan

Pakistan’s chase began with Fakhar Zaman stylishly flicking off Taskin Ahmed in the opening over and surviving being caught out at first slip off Shoriful Islam. After a 20-minute floodlight failure interruption, Imam smacked three boundaries off Taskin though Bangladesh bowlers tried their best in keeping the Pakistan openers at the edge.

Bangladesh had a breakthrough when Shoriful trapped Fakhar lbw for a 31-ball 20, but burnt both of their reviews in three overs while trying to get Imam and Babar Azam lbw. Taskin was rewarded for hitting high speeds by getting a fuller delivery to keep low and take Babar’s inside edge to the stumps.
Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by 7 wickets.

Imam-ul-Haq scored 78 runs.

(Photo: PTI)

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Rizwan got off the mark with a cross-bat swipe off Hasan Mahmud and took four more off him, while Imam survived a third lbw shout and reached his 19th ODI fifty by pulling Mehidy for a maximum. Rizwan and Imam hit three fours and two sixes off Mehidy and Shakib combined as Pakistan looked comfortable for a win.

But Imam fell when he was beaten on the inside edge by Mehidy on an attempted slog and was castled for 78 off 84 balls. Rizwan continued his boundary-hitting spree and reached his 11th ODI fifty and with support from Agha Salman, who hit the winning boundary via a reverse-sweep, knocked off the remaining runs to seal Pakistan’s emphatic win.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 193 in 38.4 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 64, Shakib Al Hasan 53; Haris Rauf 4-19, Naseem Shah 3-34) lost to Pakistan 194-3 in 39.3 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 78, Mohammad Rizwan 63 not out; Shoriful Islam 1-24, Taskin Ahmed 1-32) by seven wickets

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