Bangladesh v Pakistan, Group A, St Lucia May 1, 2010

Pakistan overcome Ashraful assault for 21-run win

Pakistan 172 for 3 (Butt 73, Akmal 73) beat Bangladesh 151 for 7 (Ashraful 65, Sami 3-29) by 21 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan survived a Mohammad Ashraful scare to begin the defence of their world title at St Lucia with a 21-run win over Bangladesh. Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt had laid the foundations with a 142-run stand that should've put the game beyond Bangladesh. But Ashraful, with Shakib Al Hasan for company, took a real pop at an imposing 173-run target, before Mohammad Sami swung a slow-burning game decisively Pakistan's way.

Bangladesh had been poor for vast chunks of the game, first with the ball, and then in starting the chase. But Ashraful's forceful 91-run stand with Shakib brought them close enough to get Pakistan jittery with five overs to go. Sami, on his T20I debut, ensured it wasn't to be with a fine two-wicket over to effectively end the game.

Mohammad Aamer had throttled Bangladesh's start and Ashraful arrived with trouble brewing. Having typically tried all manner of unnecessary improvisation initially, Ashraful settled down to playing normal strokes. It's asked often why he doesn't play those more, and let this be another time. He quickly deposited Abdul Razzaq for a wonderful six over midwicket, but really cranked up the heat when he took on Pakistan's captain next.

The first ball of Shahid Afridi's spell, the 11th over, was driven exquisitely over extra cover but it was in his next over that he really shook Pakistan up. Again he lofted Afridi, but with such grace and timing that the ball fairly sailed over long-off. A couple of balls later, he went squarer and soon after brought up his fifty.

Shakib meanwhile was showing the world once again why he is such a special young man. He never panicked, which can't often be said of Ashraful, and went about choosing his spots almost at will. Saeed Ajmal was heaved for one and Mohammad Hafeez was slog-swept for two maximums and suddenly Bangladesh had recovered from 36 for 2 to 115 for two after 14.

As so often, however, it wasn't to be and the surprise was that it was Shakib who perished first. Afridi took a gamble in bringing back an uncertain Sami, but it paid off as Shakib fell and Mahmudullah followed a few balls later. Ashraful still went on, dishing out some serious stick to Afridi, before falling, inevitably, to an improvised paddle, signaling a brave end.

Pakistan's big bonus, alongside Sami's effort, was Butt's earlier contribution. He has appeared ill-suited to the format, unable to work gaps and not blessed with the power that gets poorer batsmen more runs. But he has a good ODI record and the intent was there from the start with a first-ball boundary. From thereon, at regular intervals he would dance down, move away, find gaps or go aerial and went about as quietly as you can in reaching fifty off 29 balls. There was no violence, just clear-headed intent and faith in his regular strokes.

His improved leg-side game was on display as well; in three successive overs after the 10th, he swept Shakib, slog-swept Abdur Razzak and slapped debutant Suhrawadi Shuvo over long-on for sixes.

Akmal gave him predictable company, almost immediately trying to set the agenda. A bold statement was made against left-arm spin - Bangladesh's most potent weapon - straight away, as he twice swept away Abdur Razzak in the second over.

He was the one who took risks, almost paying for it when a miscued pull was fluffed by Ashraful. They were to pay for it as Akmal did what he does best. Out came the cuts, the scything cover drives, the pulls and the occasional mind-boggling slap over extra cover. All the while singles and doubles flowed on the large ground, giving Akmal a comfortable 73.

Bangladesh were unable to string together an over of good balls. It wasn't until the 16th over, when they claimed Akmal finally, that they bowled an over without conceding at least one boundary. They recovered, not allowing any more in the final overs but the damage had been done.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 8, 2010, 18:53 GMT

    guyz ... cool down ... @ Sam_k14 ... hopefully u r right ... but i would suggest that u should keep your eyes wide open and watch some few matches of Bangladesh. Ask anyone who knows sumwhat cricket about Tamim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfikur Rahim and they will inform u about the rest ... if u r a pakistani supporter i would ask u to use your head while saying sumthing ... :) ... Caz Aussies had almost been slayed in the very next game ... only a super batting (+ Mashrafi's over) from Mikey had saved them from disgrace ... and btw tigers have batted almost throughout the inning ... Last year i asked everybody to give this new team (A team with an average age of 23) 3 more years and they will emerge as a power ... i am still promising the same ... give us another couple of years and we will become a serious threat to any cricket playing country ... especially Pakistan, Australia, India and New Zealand ... why them ??? caz they are the ones Bangladesh play their best against ... <3 <3 <3

  • Dummy4 on May 4, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Pakistan was so lucky to win this match against bd,this team is more weeker then any other pakistani squad.Bd has missed the opportunity to bit them,Tamims, Mahmudullahs bad short selection cost them losing the game,Paks poor fildings and lack of good player allready shows in the warmup match against Zim. This match dosn't deserve pakistan to win.Mashrafi and Shuvos Expensive overs cost them loosing the game....

  • Sam on May 3, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    @BD fans, Did you guys honestly think that BD team was going to beat Pakistan? LOL or any other team for that matter. You guys are dreaming in techni colour. BD does not have any player (other than Ashraful and Habibul Basher) who can play cricket. You are there out of sympathy. Let us see how you play Auussies. If you bat first you are lucky if you can survive all 20 overs.

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    hahhahahaha ... Pakistani players almost died from serious suffocation caused by Mohammad Ashraful and a Shakib Al Hasan ... Maybe it was luck that the tide was turned by a serious gamble while reproducing Sami into the attack ... or maybe it was Bangladeshi's habit of throwing away a perfectly built and super gliding inning that actually caused the match ... in either way while Pakistani's are batting there is no possibility for the ball to turn into a crap ... caz afridi was chewing his nails while his side was displaying a supernatural display of a genuine T20 innings ...

    All Bangladesh need right now is a balanced team of 5 genuine batsmen (Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed, Naeem Islam) alongside 2 genuine all rounders (Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyadh) and 3 Bowlers (Mashrafi Mortaza, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzaq) to defeat Australia ... Why Aussies ??? caz them are flying high after defeating Pakistan Last night even after losing 5 wickets/last over ...

  • Halim on May 2, 2010, 20:39 GMT

    Hi Dear waqar & nida, perhaps its Palistan's one of the best play. who could thought Pakistan, Kenya or Uganda can play so well with Australia! Tanzania, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea & Pakistan should play a tournament. Hope 4 best 4 Pakistan!

  • shahid on May 2, 2010, 0:34 GMT


  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2010, 0:26 GMT

    I was shocked watching Pakistan playing with a crap/damaged ball in last 6 overs. It was coming to bat perfectly n even full power could.nt take it any near to boundary. n no one bothered a request to change it. Pak could easily cross 200 in situation like this inspite of slow pitch n outfield. It could cost them the match but thankfully enough on the board. can be much severe in any future event if no attention given. 100% ball was crap. :-)) can anybody tell officials to investigate it.....

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    Great job Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt. I would like to raise an issue here.. I am sure a lot of people apart from the players and the public present at the stadium noticed this BIG BLUNDER made by the band present there. WHY THE HELL WHERE THEY PLAYING A WRONG NATIONAL ANTHEM ? :O!!

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