Pakistan win despite Nazimuddin's heroics
A scintillating 81 off 50 deliveries by Nazimuddin briefly threatened an upset but lack of support from the other batsmen allowed Pakistan a comfortable victory over Bangladesh in the Quadrangular tournament. The early loss of fellow opener Tamim Iqbal did not deter Nazimuddin as he dispatched the much talked-about duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif to all parts of the Nairobi Gymkhana.
Iftikhar Anjum replaced Asif as early as the sixth over but 20 came off his first over as Bangladesh went past 50. The introduction of spin, however, paid dividends for the second time in the match as Shahid Afridi dismissed Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful was run out in the following over. While Nazimuddin kept blazing, Afridi picked up another wicket to dry up the scoring from one end.
Nazimuddin was finally dismissed by Yasir Arafat after striking eight fours and five sixes, taking with him back to the pavilion Bangladesh's hopes of victory. Shoaib returned to pick up another wicket in his final over but the Pakistan bowling attack, for the second match running, failed to dismiss their opposition after their batsmen had piled up a huge total.
A 76-run opening partnership between Salman Butt and Imran Nazir and some firm hitting by Younis Khan and Afridi helped Pakistan to 191. Put in to bat by Ashraful, Pakistan's openers adopted aggression from the first ball. The Bangladesh bowlers, especially Mashrafe Mortaza, were bent upon bowling short and were dealt with severely. Pakistan's 50 came up in the fifth over which was blasted for 21 runs by Nazir, including a brace of fours and sixes. Nazir was eventually run out one short of his half-century but Younis, who dealt mainly in sixes, kept the run rate close to nine an over.
The introduction of spin slowed Pakistan's progress a tad and also brought the wicket of Butt who was cleaned up by Ashraful for 33. Shoaib Malik promoted himself up the order but only lasted six deliveries and scored 10. His dismissal, however, brought the crowd-favourite Afridi to the crease who had yesterday blasted a 50 off 18 deliveries in the previous match.
Content with giving Younis the strike, Afridi broke the shackles after being dropped by Ferhad Reza when on 2. A few sixes after Younis' dismissal (48 off 25 deliveries) gave not only the crowd more to cheer about but also gave Pakistan bowlers yet another solid platform to work with.