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The Report by Karthik Krishnaswamy
March 30, 2014
Pakistan 190 for 5 (Shehzad 111*, Razzak 2-20) beat Bangladesh 140 for 7 (Shakib 38, Gul 3-30, Ajmal 2-20) by 50 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Highlights: Shehzad fires Pakistan to easy victory
Ahmed Shehzad pummeled Pakistan's first ever T20 century, propelling his side to a 50-run win over Bangladesh and setting up a virtual quarterfinal against West Indies on Tuesday. Shehzad punished some ordinary bowling from Bangladesh's seamers - he scored 87 off 39 balls against them - to ensure Pakistan didn't suffer any long-term effects from a mid-innings dip, when they lost three wickets for 28 runs in 29 balls.
With Shahid Afridi tonking 22 off 9 balls late in the innings, Pakistan set Bangladesh 191 to win. Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque made a decent start, but Bangladesh's innings disintegrated after both fell in the space of nine balls to leave them 36 for 2 in the sixth over.
In the next 34 balls, Bangladesh lost two more wickets to the spinners and didn't find the boundary even once. With 135 needed from 52, they weren't going to get anywhere near the target, even if Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain gave the Shere Bangla National Stadium a handful of opportunities to exercise their lungs. The contest had long ended, and Australia's players, waiting for their match against India, watched on resignedly as their semi-final hopes slowly evaporated.
This process may have begun soon after Shehzad started feasting on Bangladesh's quicker bowlers. His method against them was to set himself up early, moving around his crease just as the bowler entered his delivery stride before finding a stable base by the time of release. He got into a couple of outlandish positions - he missed a paddle off Al-Amin from way outside off stump, and took a single off a leading edge after walking halfway down the pitch to Mashrafe Mortaza - but prospered when he set himself up in a semi-open position with a small jump across the stumps. From there, he had room to swat the length ball over midwicket or take an extra stride forward and carve the ball over extra cover.
Both these shots made an early appearance as he took three fours and a six in Mashrafe's second over and motored to 29 off 13. Pakistan were 34 for no loss after three overs. Bangladesh immediately pulled things back with spin. Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak conceded just 20 runs off the next four overs, which also produced the wicket of Kamran Akmal via a top-edged sweep.
Pakistan lost two more wickets to spin - Mohammad Hafeez was beaten in flight by Razzak and was stumped while Umar Akmal top-edged a slash to backward point. At the 12-over mark, Pakistan were 88 for 3, with Shehzad on 56 and Shoaib Malik on 9 off 11. The three spinners, between them, had bowled eight overs and picked up three for 40.
But the reintroduction of seam opened the floodgates. Ziaur Rahman's was just the sort of pace Shehzad liked and the over went for 22, with Shehzad cutting two fours behind point and shovelling two sixes over midwicket. The 16th over, bowler by Mashrafe, produced 16, including five wides and two fours from Shehzad.
At the start of the 19th over, Mushfiqur had one more over from his main offspinner, Mahmudullah, and also had the option of using Nasir Hossain. Instead, Mushfiqur brought back Mashrafe, who had gone for 39 in three overs. Cue the biggest over of the Pakistan innings. Shehzad pulled his first ball for six and was caught in the deep off a no-ball before Afridi joined in the fun with two sixes in two balls over extra cover.
A boundary off the last ball from Shehzad took the total for the over to 24. It took Pakistan to 180 with one over left. The spinners had kept Bangladesh in the match, till this point. Now, even before they had begun their innings, they were more or less out of it.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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