Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Individuals shine in tournament opener

The opening day of Asia Cup's 12th edition in fact remained as exciting as the corresponding game from 2010, when a scintillating Shahid Afridi century almost overturned the hosts Sri Lanka

Mohammad Isam at the Shere Bangla Stadium

March 11, 2012

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Tamim Iqbal raises his bat after reaching a half-century, Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 11, 2012
Tamim Iqbal got to prove a board president wrong © Associated Press

Three men made very different comebacks and another issued a scathing response on a day when two excellent allrounders and a potential allrounder kept everyone on their toes.

It was that sort of a day in Mirpur. Mashrafe Mortaza returned to international cricket after almost a year while Shahadat Hossain and Nasir Jamshed were playing ODIs after two and three years respectively. Tamim Iqbal made a statement with his bat and Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Gul manoeuvered the tail end of the match to a finale that did justice to the entire game, much like what had happened in Dambulla two years ago.

The opening day of the Asia Cup's latest edition in fact remained as exciting as the corresponding game from 2010, when a scintillating Shahid Afridi century almost overturned the hosts Sri Lanka.

Afridi though had nothing to do with the bat on Sunday while his bowling became less of a mystery to the Bangladeshi batsmen. Hafeez however remained a tough proposition with the ball, despite Nazimuddin and Tamim handling him confidently in the early stages. The man known to his team-mates as the "professor" came back for a third spell to remove the left-handed opener Tamim and Mahmudullah off successive deliveries. Though the latter can count himself unlucky as the ball appeared to be going down the leg side as the television replays suggested, Tamim's dismissal was vital.

The delivery was the sort of a slider that Hafeez often bowls to left-handers while coming from round the wicket. This one appeared to be dipping less but Tamim under-edged his attempted dab onto the boot and it ricocheted onto the stumps.

But before his innings ended on 64 off 89 balls, the Chittagong batsman played a measured knock that immensely helped him make a point. As he reached the half-century off 75 balls, Tamim pointed towards to someone in particular towards the dressing-room as an acknowledgement. The celebration was of relief as it brought him a 50-plus score in ODIs after seven months, but more importantly it silences some of his critics for the time being.

After Tamim and Mahmudullah exited, it was once again down to Shakib, the man who has routinely stood firm in adversities. He is one of the very few middle-order batsmen in this team who understands the importance of the single. He doesn't only rely on them, he uses it as his strength to move the fielders around to his liking.

With Nasir Hossain for company, a crisis man at the tender age of 21, the pair added 89 for the sixth wicket in 14.5 overs, keeping Bangladesh within striking distance. But that hope was ended by Gul, whose accuracy makes him Misbah-Ul-Haq's most reliable weapon at the death. After Nasir had struck him for two successive boundaries to reduce the margin to 39 runs, the next ball was a straight one that found the batsman leaving a slight gap where it matters; lazy footwork for one but finding that little breach takes a lot of skill.

Gul's batting too was vitally important at the stage he came in. As Misbah left on 198 for 7, Pakistan were in danger of getting bowled out for less than 220, but the fast bowler forged a feisty stand with Sarfraz Ahmed. Gul was severe on Mortaza, hammering 16 off his final over to spoil the returning fast bowler's figures, which had promise to remain as miserly as his opening spell.

Jamshed and Hafeez hardly made a dash for the big shots as they built a steady partnership, which ended in the 28th over with Jamshed's run out. Shahadat too showed some verve and he was lucky too, picking up three wickets in his second spell. Hafeez, who batted so correctly to make 89, fell to a pull shot (as did Asad Shafiq) while Younis Khan skied a ball that he had readied himself to hit towards midwicket. After Shahadat's strikes, Shakib was on a hat-trick by removing a careless Umar Akmal and by his presence of mind when Afridi chipped one back at him.

Shakib's successful juggling act, aided somewhat by Misbah's helmet at the other end, should have been the turning point from where Bangladesh should have pressed their authority. Instead, it was probably Nasir's dismissal that took the game away from the home side.

Hafeez and Shakib ultimately held a showdown of a potential rivalry while Mashrafe, Tamim, Shahadat and Jamshed chose the occasion to justify their inclusion. One of them got to prove a board president wrong.

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka

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Posted by ZsZs on (March 13, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

Proving the Point to the Board President left a proof-point to Pakistan on the balance - on the short end.

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

Bangladesh Cricket board are lame, Should be putting Nasir Hossain more up the order. Period......

Posted by   on (March 13, 2012, 6:48 GMT)


Posted by missionbegins2011 on (March 13, 2012, 5:45 GMT)

@AndyZaltzmannsHair: I am talking the head to head result of IND SL in CB series, IND won that 2-1 despite having a team which was not in form, especially the one in which IND chased the total in 36.4 overs was hilarious. SL will have a real tough time against IND here. The 2-1 thrashing and virat's incriminating presence will play pn their minds. IND lead SL 70-51 overall in ODI's, any which way you look at it, its advantage IND

Posted by kiss898 on (March 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT)

India will be thrashed in the 1st round of CWC in 2015.....they play poorer than zimbabwe out of sub continent....once in a while they win a game in between and they celebrate if for they are doing now with SL victory in hobart.... people had forgot the thrashing they got in that australian

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (March 12, 2012, 20:33 GMT)

@missionbegins. Exactly what 2-1 clobbering are you on about. India got knockef out thats all that matters. Or are you so desperate thesr days that you will cheer even the smallest of victories.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Pakistan, even in their wildest dreams, can't win this tournament. There is no way that this team can beat India and SL. I personally hope that SL win because of their recent improvements and hard work in the field. They have come a long way since their consecutive failures last year. What I really liked about this ODI was that there was fight till the end. BD put up a great fight and I enjoyed this game of cricket. It was much better than watching Pakistan lose against England because you could see the body language of the players since the beginning of the match and it was obvious that they did not look like a winning bunch. Oh, once again, Hafeez scores runs agains Bangladesh. Let's see how he does against India or SL. Horrible opener. Afridi STILL 1 run short of 7000 runs ROFL. What a joke. What's worse is that Umar Gull scores more runs than all the milddle order specialist batsmen. Then Pakistan fans question why we lost WC Semi. Blame 1 for failure of 11 shall we?

Posted by BowledYa on (March 12, 2012, 16:56 GMT)

@ Ifty Khan. It does not matter how may runs scored or wickets taken, only how many taken per innings. Afridi has scored those runs and gotten wickets by playing a zillion ODIs. His average is less than ordinary. Quoting the fastest century or 5 wicket hauls again mean little if you fail 9 times out of 10 matches, which he does. I am tired to hearing my fellow Paks quoting Afridi total runs and wickets while ignoring his averages. He had multiple chances to help Pakistan win in the recent England series and failed each time. So where is the greatness, with below 23 runs and 1 wicket per ODI average?

Posted by Quddus-Mamu on (March 12, 2012, 16:33 GMT)

Bangladesh team needs another top order or middle order specialist batsman. I don't understand why Bangladesh Team selectors always look for an all rounder. Mahmudullah must be dropped from the squad. He is an average all rounder, BD team can't afford an average all rounder any more. Instead of Mahmudullah they should give chance to another specialist Batsman. You can't play with only 3 specialist Batsman on side (Tamim, Nazimuddin,Zaharul). BD team needs two changes in next match. Razzak and Mahmudullah should be dropped. Sunny and Anamul Haque/Kayes should be in.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 15:35 GMT)


Shakib performances comes on Bangladesh grounds only ..P.S international teams take easy while playing against Bang as a whole, which includes Shakib as an individual as well, while in case of Afridi ...they already knew how to bowl against him ...anyway he is good fine in Bangla team and your team needs at least 3-4 more like him to win matches else he will be a waste in 3-4 yrs time.

Posted by Fieldsight on (March 12, 2012, 14:06 GMT)

It was good to see a fellow Chittagonian dig down and lift his game and do justice to his Game, Congratulations Tamim,

But I think, anger would only give you fleeting glory. You have to find out what works for you in the longer term, you are in a tough business, my friend, tougher than most business, i might add, but as long as you give your best, do the routine discipline, then you can raise your bat on a permenant basis!

But first, you have to raise your bat to yourself everyday, after making sure, you have done everything you could!

Posted by missionbegins2011 on (March 12, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

hahahaha BAN lost again, when will they learn to win ? its been more than 25 years of international cricket for BAN it stil isl a struggling team. IND looks favorites right now. PAK will lose against SL and will be thrashed by IND. SL already has a bitter taste in their mouths following the 2-1 clobbering they received against IND in CB series. They wont be able to keep up to IND

Posted by Behind_the_Wicket on (March 12, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Pakistani Team is team of old horses . 30+,s team .Please PCB Selectors give chance to young blood , Misbah , Younas should say bye bye to ODI cricket.Umar Gul shines once in a blue moon drop both Umars (Gul and Akaml).What if Pakistan will play with same team against India.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 11:45 GMT)

@Ifty_Khan. How many games Afridi played and how many games Shakib played?

Posted by Shakirceragem on (March 12, 2012, 11:30 GMT)

Excellent performance by the Bangladeshis unfortunately the could not finish at the end..Better luck next time..

Pakistan seems to me out of the form at this moment. last 1.5 years they played exceptional cricket looks predictable in nature but they have gone back to original unpredictable nature..Team performance is very poor. i don't think they can beat India or Srilanka with this team effort. India & Srilanka will be the final.. India will with the Asia Cup....2010...

Posted by Ifty_Khan on (March 12, 2012, 11:25 GMT)

@saqskhan @Baundele, Afridi has scored almost 7000 runs and has over 340 wickets if he does not qualify as an Allrounder then I like to know who does. let me give you some facts. there are only 6 players with more runs then Afridi currently playing and there is only 1 player above Afridi who have more wickets then him currently playing, B Lee (Aus), and I dont think he has much left in the tank. he has scored most sixes ever and fasted 100s. Yes recently he has been concentrating more in bowling then batting but no way considered as "we cannot call him a genuine allrounder" @saqskhan.

So I am awaiting your reply on who is currently a better allrounder them him in terms of wickets, runs and games played.

Posted by NP_NY on (March 12, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

Good fight by the BD team. But the difference between good teams and not-so-good teams is the ability to finish games. Yes, Shakib is way ahead of Afridi in the all-rounders list but others find a way to support him so BD can finish some games successfully, his all-round abilities will go to waste and he will not be remembered for too long.

Posted by itsTIME4ELImination on (March 12, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Comon Pakistan !

Posted by Ammy_rd on (March 12, 2012, 10:37 GMT)

This Bangladesh side looks like a team for the future. Most of their players are in their early 20s and some are maturing into worldclass players such as Shakib, Nasir and Tamim. Under the right supervision, they can blossom into a good team, All they need now is a quality strike bowler and a dependable middle order batsman!

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

next Pakistan line up should be . 1.Ahmed shahzad 2. nasir jamshed 3. m.hafeez 4. umar akmal 5.asad shafiq 6.afridi 7. hammad azam 8. sarfaraz 9. umar gul 10. saeed ajmal 11. aizaz .cheema because hammad gives all rounder support, and a.shahzad is familiar with bangladesh conditions with good form...

Posted by SamAsh07 on (March 12, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

@saqskhan - I see what you mean, but this begs the question, why is Pakistan playing Afridi as an all-rounder?? He should be dropped down to No.10 or so as a bowler that can bat, with Gul being promoted to his position. Pakistan should drop a bowler, specifically Cheema and bring in Hammad Azam as the all-rounder or for experience and reliability, Abdul Razzaq.

Posted by Noball_Specialist on (March 12, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

Shakib is too good for the Banglas. True world class player and a fighter at that. Tamim has a lot to prove.

Posted by JustIPL on (March 12, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

Good for cricket. Bangladesh giving tough time to Pakistan. But this time Pak were still under shock of debacle against English but it is Bangladesh mate you so easily got over sometime back. Anyway, Bangladesh should keep it up and atleast handover some more surprises to justify their being.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

the way Sakib is performing... awesomesala...

Posted by saqskhan on (March 12, 2012, 8:40 GMT)

@Baundele: If Afridi could have batted then Pak would have definetly score 300+, but here the question is IF? Remember my friend, if he do bat well, thats a bonus for the team, he is in the team for his bowling and fielding rather than his batting, we cannot call him a genuine allrounder. So do not expect anything from Afridi with the bat, IF he does then that will always be a bonus for PAK and this may proove dangerous for the opposition.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Shakib .... The best all rounder in current race :)

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

bangladesh squandered great opporunity any way still a good game of cricket

Posted by K.A.K on (March 12, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Bangladesh played well against a more experienced team and there are signs of Bangladesh improving in coming years. This is good news for cricket.

Posted by   on (March 12, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

Mashrafe Khankir Kutta is responsible for the loss.Shuorer Bachcha.

Posted by Baundele on (March 12, 2012, 5:16 GMT)

One of those 'Khichuri' articles. Very difficult to follow who is playing for whom and doing what. "Afridi though had nothing to do with the bat on Sunday" wrong, mate! Afridi had a lot to do; but he failed, a golden duck, to Shakib's brilliance. If Afridi could bat well, Pak could score 300 plus. His failure could be the difference, as Bangladesh was almost chasing the 260ish score.

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Tournament Results
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Pakistan won by 2 runs
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Dhaka - Mar 20, 2012
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