September 21, 2003

Pakistan ease to 58-run win to wrap series 5-0

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Pakistan 302 for 5 (Hameed 82, Inzamam 59*, Youhana 52) beat Bangladesh 244 for 7 (Saleh 71, Kapali 69, Sarkar 50) by 58 runs

Adbul Razzaq: hit a quick 15 not out in Pakistan's 302

Pakistan coasted to a comfortable 58-run victory in the last match of their one-day international series against Bangladesh to complete a 5-0 drubbing. The result of the match was never in doubt after Pakistan made full use of a superb pitch, winning the toss and scoring 302. When Bangladesh batted, it was only a question of salvaging pride. They did that to an extent: Rajin Saleh capped off an excellent tour with a fluent 71, while Alok Kapali confirmed his potential, scoring 69.

Earlier, Bangladesh's bowling, after three games of steady improvement, took some heavy punishment from the three batsmen who have dominated this series: Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana and Inzamam-ul-Haq. Pakistan's aggregate at the 15-over mark was their lowest of the series, but when Mohammad Hafeez was out in the 23rd over with the score on 95, Youhana came out to join Hameed. With scores of 49, 106, 65 and 94 not out behind him, and the series comfortably in the bag, Youhana felt no need to take some time to play himself in. His blistering 52 took just 32 balls, with six fours and three sixes. He put on 74 for the second wicket with Hameed in 11 overs, at a time of the innings that is usually marked out for steady accumulation.

Hameed, back to the opener's slot after Imran Nazir was picked in his place for the previous game, made 82. After they were out in successive overs, Inzamam took charge, and Shoaib Malik and Abdul Razzaq chipped in with valuable contributions. Inzamam hit out with murderous power at the end, but the shot of the innings came from the prodigiously talented Malik, walking across his stumps, getting down on one knee, and swinging Tapash Baisya high over midwicket for six.

After their near-miss at Rawalpindi three days ago, when they extended Pakistan's run-chase to the penultimate ball of the innings, Bangladesh appeared deflated. Even Mohammad Rafique, by far Bangladesh's most consistent bowler on the tour, was collared, going for 65 runs in his 10 overs.

Bangladesh began promisingly with a 43-run first-wicket stand, but keeping up with an asking rate of more than six an over was far beyond their capabilities. Habibul Bashar's disappointing run in the ODIs continued when he was run out for 13 - after scoring 379 runs in the three-Test series, he managed just 95 in five one-dayers.

Hannan Sarkar stroked a 69-ball 50, but the best period of play for Bangladesh came when Saleh and Kapali added 128 for the third wicket. Both rotated the strike well, but their failure to work the boundaries - Saleh struck just three fours while Kapali managed six - meant that the asking rate kept mounting. By the time the partnership was broken with Saleh's run-out, Bangladesh needed an improbable 83 from four overs.

Bangladesh thus ended their tour of Pakistan without a single victory, but their performances would surely have encouraged Dav Whatmore. The aim would now be to sustain the momentum when England tour Bangladesh next month.