Pakistan Edges Past Bangladesh into T20 Super Eight
By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bangladeshâ€™s Shakib Al Hasan reacts during their Twenty20 World Cup group D match against Pakistan at Pallekele in Sri Lanka September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Philip Brown
Pakistan dismantled Bangladesh and sent them crashing out of the World Twenty20 to reach the Super Eights round with a ruthless batting display. Imran Nazirâ€™s brilliant 72 and skipper Mohammad Hafeezâ€™s 45 helped take Pakistan past Bangladeshâ€™s challenging 175-6 in Pallekele, after already overhauling the target needed to go through on net run-rate.
Shakib Al Hasan had smashed a record 84 for Bangladesh, who needed to win by 36 runs to go through, raising the prospect of a shock upset against the former champions. But those hopes were quickly dashed by opener Nazirâ€™s career-best knock, including nine boundaries and three sixes in 36 balls, which made up the bulk of Pakistanâ€™s 124 for the opening wicket with Hafeez.
Even when both fell in one Abul Hasan over, Nasir Jamshed (29 not out) and Kamran Akmal (22 not out) ensured the win was achieved with eight balls to spare as Pakistan wrapped it up with 178-2, joining New Zealand in the next round.
Earlier it was left-hander Hasan who hit his second Twenty20 fifty and added 68 runs for the third wicket with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (25) after Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat. Hasan, whose previous T20 best of 57 came against Ireland at Belfast earlier this year, smashed 11 boundaries and two sixes during his 54-ball knock, improving Nazimuddinâ€™s previous best of 81, against Pakistan at Nairobi in 2007.
Opener Tamim Iqbal hit five boundaries in his 12-ball 24 before he was unfortunately run out. It was Hasan who punished every Pakistani bowler, with Umar Gul going for 43 runs in his three overs.
Pakistan were sloppy in the field, with Sohail Tanvir dropping a sitter off Rahim and Shahid Afridi failing to hold on to a sharp chance off Hasan â€” both in one over by Yasir Arafat, who was best bowler with 3-25.
The Super Eights, which decide the semi-finalists, start in Pallekele on Thursday, with Sri Lanka taking on New Zealand and England playing the West Indies in Group One. Pakistan, India, South Africa and Australia are in a highly competitive Group Two, highlighted by the fact that all four teams are unbeaten so far.