Bangladesh v Pakistan, U-19 World Cup Group A February 8, 2006

Bangladesh battle past Pakistan

Bangladesh 171 for 6 (Mushfiqur Rahim 46) beat Pakistan 170 (Saqibul Hasan 4-34) by four wickets

Saqibul Hasan's 4 for 34 earned him the Man-of-the-Match award © Cricinfo Ltd

A composed captain's innings from Mushfiqur Rahim, which oozed international class, steered Bangladesh to a comfortable four-wicket win against a disappointing Pakistan side at the Nondescripts Ground. Rahim's 46 carried his side to the brink of victory, after Pakistan's batting had imploded - losing all ten wickets for 104 runs.

Bangladesh, with one group match remaining against Uganda, can start thinking about the Super League stage. Pakistan, however, now need to beat New Zealand to keep their hopes alive of reaching the quarter-finals and will now be regretting their reckless approach earlier in the day.

Mansoor Rana, the Pakistan coach, acknowledged his batsmen's failings. "Their four spinners bowled well, but obviously I would blame my whole batting side for playing unnecessary shots," he said. "We were 80 for 1 and we should have built some partnerships. Making the same mistakes again and again is unacceptable."

Rana, though, refused to be to downbeat, claiming his side will learn. "Sometimes we try to be perfectionists and that is wrong," he said. "The boys will go away, think about this, and try to put things right against New Zealand, which we know is now a vital game."

After speeding to 66 without loss, with positive stroke play against the seamers, there was then a collective loss of common sense from the batsmen. It is a fine line between being aggressive and reckless - in this innings, Pakistan crossed firmly into the latter.

Bangladesh's four spinners - all left-armers - did the damage, claiming the nine wickets to fall to bowlers. Familiarity obviously bred contempt among the batting. There was no extraordinary help from the pitch, but they flighted the ball intelligently, while the batsmen obliged by locating the fielders.

Saqibul Hasan, who claimed the Man-of-the-Match award for his four wickets, halted the opening charge by removing Ali Khan when he slapped a catch to point. When Nasir Jamshed fell in the next over, as he attempted to loft one the over the infield, you would have thought the middle order would have learnt a lesson.

However, instead of restraining themselves and building another stand - the run-rate was still above five-an-over - they continued to try and hit the ball into the neighbouring SSC ground. The Bangladesh outfielding was as safe as houses, pouching each chance that came their way.

The Pakistan running was not too smart either, a common trait of this tournament so far from most teams, and the comical mid-pitch mix-up that resulted in Imad Wasim's run out summed up their innings.

The senior side may have found a new level of consistency, but Pakistan cricket still has the inbuilt ability to implode at any given moment. Failing to use up 41 balls of the innings was a major waste, especially as another 30 runs could have made a significant difference in the chase.

Rahim, with a Test cap at Lord's behind him, showed them the way do it, after Bangladesh were wobbling at 88 for 4 and 119 for 5. Jamshaid Ahmed struck twice, sustaining useful pace while bowling his ten overs straight through with impressive heart. However, his fielders let him down in a big way; four went down and misfields aplenty occurred in the covers.

But the key difference was the Bangladesh captain - cleverly used to bring stability to the middle-order - and he produced the most technically correct innings of the match. With a straight bat he threaded the ball through the covers, without ever attempting to thrash the cover off it. When he opted to go over the top he did so with conviction, levelling the scores with a stunning flick off his legs into the pavilion.

He deserved to hit the winning runs, but picked out midwicket trying to finish the match. That will only have been a minor disappointment. Bangladesh came into this tournament billed as one of the favourites. They have, so far, managed to live up that standing and, one senses, are ready for further challenges.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo