Imran Nazir’s blitzkrieg overshadows Shakib Al Hasan’s delightful batting

Sometimes, even the best is not good enough. Bangladesh put up its best score in a T20 international but that was not enough to hold Pakistan back in the final group match of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Tuesday.

Set to score 176 for a win but needing only 139 to qualify, Pakistan chased down the target in 18.4 overs and with eight wickets to spare. It also became the former champion’s highest score in a World T20 game.

Fired by the quickest 50 in this edition (Imran Nazir, 25 balls), Pakistan cantered home with seven balls to spare. Nazir (72, 36b, 9x4, 3x6), who was dropped by Abul Hasan when just on 1, went after all the bowlers and connected more often than not.

Captain Hafeez, scoring at a run-a-ball, played the junior partner’s role and was content giving the strike to Nazir.

Both departed in quick succession but by then Pakistan needed only 13 runs to qualify. The man-of-the-match from the last game, Nasir Jamshed, lifted seamer Abul Hasan onto the stands to send Pakistan to the Super Eights stage. He put on a 52-run partnership with Kamran Akmal to overhaul the Bangladesh score.

With this loss, Bangladesh heads home, while Pakistan will travel to Colombo for its Super Eight matches.

Earlier, opting to bat, Bangladesh put on board 175 for six for its highest score in this format. It overhauled its previous best of 165 for four (against West Indies in 2007).

Shakib Al Hasan (84, 54b, 11x4, 2x6) had a dream game, hitting his way to the highest score by a Bangladeshi in the tournament.

Bangladesh’s first 50 runs came in 33 balls and it managed 61 for the loss of two wickets during the Power Play.

In 10 overs, it progressed to a creditable 90 for two and looked set for a good score. The 100 came in 65 balls and the 150 in 108 balls.

Tanvir’s bloomer

Captain Mushfiqur Rahim had his slice of luck, on 17, when Sohail Tanvir dropped an easy chance.

Arafat dropped one short and Mushfiqur went for the pull that did not connect properly. The ball ballooned and Tanvir did everything but catch! Afridi soon dropped Shakib but it was a difficult chance as the ball went low to his left at mid-off.

Mushfiqur and Shakib rebuilt the innings and put on 68 runs for the third wicket in 8.5 overs to ensure that Bangladesh had a decent score to bowl at.

Mushfiqur departed trying to force the pace: he pulled a short ball on the middle stump to the right of Imran Nazir at deep mid-wicket. Nazir, one of the better fielders, held on to a decent catch.

Shakib departed in the last over, hitting a low full toss straight to Umar Akmal at long-off.

Scoreboard

Bangladesh: T. Iqbal (run out) 24 (12b, 5x4), M. Ashraful b Tanvir 14 (13b, 3x4), Shakib c U. Akmal b Arafat 84 (54b, 11x4, 2x6), Mushfiqur c Nazir b Arafat 25 (26b, 1x4, 1x6), Mahmudullah c U. Akmal b Afridi 0 (2b), N. Hossain b Arafat 16 (13b, 2x4), Z. Rahman (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (lb-2, w-8, nb-1): 11; Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 175.

Fall of wickets:1-34 (Ashraful), 2-61 (Tamim), 3-129 (Mushfiqur), 4-133 (Mahmudullah), 5-170 (Shakib), 6-175 (Hossain).

Pakistan bowling: Hafeez 3-0-28-0, Tanvir 3-0-25-1, Gul 3-0-43-0, Afridi 4-0-20-1, Ajmal 4-0-32-0, Arafat 3-0-25-3.

Pakistan: M. Hafeez c Mushfiqur b Hasan 45 (47b, 6x4), I. Nazir c sub b A. Hasan 72 (36b, 9x4, 3x6), N. Jamshed (not out) 29 (14b, 2x4, 2x6), K. Akmal (not out) 22 (15b, 4x4); Extras: (b-1, lb-2, w-7) 10. Total (for 2 wickets in 18.4 overs): 178.

Fall of wickets: 1-124 (Nazir), 2-126 (Hafeez).

Bangladesh bowling: Mortaza 3-0-30-0, Islam 2.4-0-35-0, Razzak 4-0-30-0, Shakib 4-0-23-0, Hasan 3-0-33-2, Mahmudullah 2-0-24-0.

Man-of-the-Match: Imran Nazir.

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