Sports desk, Nov 20: Pakistan sauntered to an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20I series with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the second game in Dhaka. Their bowlers did the bulk of the work, restricting the home side to 108 for 7 with an effective display in the second half of the innings.
Pakistan 109 for 2 (Fakhar 57*, Rizwan 39) beat Bangladesh 108 for 7 (Shanto 40, Afif 20, Afridi 2-15, Shadab 2-22) by eight wickets
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan took two wickets each, with excellent support from Mohammad Wasim Jr and Haris Rauf, who didn’t let Bangladesh get away in the death overs.
Pakistan then took 18.1 overs to reach the total. Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman added 85 runs for the second wicket, their partnership ending when Pakistan only needed 12 to win. Fakhar remained unbeaten on 57 off 51 balls, while Rizwan made 39 off 45.
Pakistan had a straightforward chase mainly because of how their bowlers shut down the home side. Bangladesh were 64 for 3 at the halfway stage of their innings, and only managed 44 in their last 10 overs for the loss of four wickets. That, ultimately, made all the difference.
Bangladesh go into reverse
Bangladesh endured their lowest-scoring last ten overs in a T20I (when they have faced all 60 deliveries). They only hit two fours in that time, as the Pakistan bowlers bowled full and used their variations superbly. It was the opposite of how Bangladesh had batted in the first game. They had scored 87 in the last ten overs on Friday, hitting seven sixes and a four.
From a fairly promising 78 for 3 after 12 overs, Bangladesh slowed down following the dismissals of Mahmudullah and Najmul Hossain Shanto. From thereon, the lower middle order couldn’t even move the needle, and the last five overs only brought 23 runs.
Afridi hits Afif
Shaheen Shah Afridi may have felt he had a bit of a fan following going in Dhaka, but all of that went for a toss in the third over of the day when he struck Afif Hossain’s foot with a throw towards the batter’s end after picking up the ball in his follow-through. It was quite unnecessary as Afif was right back in his crease after tapping the ball towards the fast bowler. The throw was Afridi’s way of showing his displeasure after Afif had flicked him for a six off the previous delivery.
Afridi immediately said sorry to Afif, and stood around to show his concern while the physio tended to him, but the crowd would have none of it. They booed Afridi, and some even called out “Matthew Wade” from the stands to remind him of Pakistan’s T20 World Cup semi-final defeat. Afridi, however, waved back, and that seemed to appease that section of the crowd quite quickly.
Shadab upends match-up
At 82 for 4 in the 14th over, Bangladesh were quite well-placed when Shadab Khan made a crucial breakthrough, taking a superb tumbling return catch to his left off the leading edge of Najmul Hossain Shanto, to send him back for 40 off 34 balls. This was his second wicket of a left-hand batter, having earlier removed Afif Hossain, whose attempted reverse-paddle in the ninth over ended up as a simple catch for wicketkeeper Rizwan.
Shadab has bowled better against left-handers in this T20I series so far. He has conceded just 18 runs off 25 balls, picking up three wickets. In the first game, Bangladesh’s left-handers found him too hard to pick, taking only three runs off his 11 balls. Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah, in stark contrast, showed little trust in his legspinner Aminul Islam when Pakistan’s left-handers were at the crease.
Too easy for Pakistan
There was hardly any challenge for Pakistan when they chased 108 runs. After Babar Azam inside-edged Mustafizur Rahman on to his stumps, Rizwan and Fakhar steadied the innings during an initial passage of caution. But they were never in doubt while putting away bad balls, and struck six fours and three sixes between them.
Bangladesh didn’t help their own cause when Saif Hassan and Taskin Ahmed dropped sitters at deep midwicket and short fine-leg respectively, reminding everyone that nothing has really changed since the T20 World Cup.