Asia Cup

Asia Cup 2023 super four: Pakistan comprehensive win over Bangladesh by 7 wickets

In a thrilling encounter of the super four match of Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan triumphed over Bangladesh, chasing down their target of 194 with seven wickets in hand. Haris Rauf’s remarkable six-over spell was the key to Pakistan’s success, as he delivered blistering pace, consistent lengths, and unerring accuracy to limit Bangladesh to a meager 193. Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Rizwan later guided Pakistan to a comfortable victory within 40 overs, marking an impressive start to their Asia Cup Super Four campaign. This victory not only earned Pakistan two crucial points but also bolstered their net run-rate.

Bangladesh’s innings, after opting to bat first, began ominously as Shaheen Shah Afridi deceived Mohammad Naim twice in the opening over – first, on the outside edge, and then on the inside. Naseem Shah struck in the second over, inducing Mehidy Hasan Miraz to chip a catch to square leg. Naseem later returned to claim the final two wickets within four balls in the 39th over. However, the highlight of the innings was Haris Rauf’s spell, where he left the Bangladeshi batsmen perplexed.

In the seventh over of Bangladesh’s innings, Pakistan faced a moment of concern as Naseem walked off the field due to a shoulder injury sustained while diving at the fine-leg boundary.

Replacing Naseem in the eighth over, Rauf wasted no time in making an impact. He dismissed Naim with a sharp delivery, inducing a top-edged pull. Rauf continued his onslaught in the tenth over, cleaning up Towhid Hridoy with an exquisite delivery that angled into the right-hander, hitting the stumps at a menacing 145kph. By the end of the powerplay, Bangladesh found themselves reeling at 47 for 4.

Despite the challenging situation, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim displayed resilience, forming a defiant century partnership. They managed to add 44 runs in just 61 balls, providing Bangladesh some hope.

Fortunately for Pakistan, Naseem returned to the field and resumed bowling in the 18th over. However, in the 20th over, Shakib survived a scare when he gloved a pull just over the wicketkeeper’s head on 32. Two balls later, he was dropped by Naseem, who couldn’t hold on to a leading edge. Shakib reached his fifty in the 28th over, but his innings ended when he pulled a short ball from Faheem Ashraf to deep square-leg. Mushfiqur notched up his half-century shortly after, but Bangladesh eventually collapsed from 174 for 5 to 193 all out.

Haris Rauf played a pivotal role in this collapse, claiming two wickets off consecutive deliveries in the 38th over. Mushfiqur was dismissed for 64, edging behind, and Taskin Ahmed fell soon after, edging to Mohammad Rizwan. Naseem completed the proceedings by taking the wickets of Afif Hossain and Shoriful Islam.

Bangladesh’s bowlers initially defended their total well, with the first five overs conceding just 12 runs to Imam and Fakhar Zaman. However, a brief floodlight failure halted the game for approximately 20 minutes, and when play resumed, Pakistan’s batsmen found their rhythm.

Fakhar pulled Shoriful for four, and Imam struck three boundaries off Taskin in the seventh over. Despite Shoriful’s efforts to contain them, he eventually dismissed Fakhar for 20 in the final over of the powerplay. Hasan Mahmud also posed a challenge with his precise bowling, convincing Shakib to review an lbw decision against Imam, which was deemed to be pitching outside leg.

Imam, initially cautious with 26 runs off his first 38 balls, had a stroke of luck when Taskin misfielded at fine leg, allowing him to fetch a boundary. He followed this with a six over midwicket off Mahmud. Two overs later, Babar Azam was out, inside-edging Taskin’s delivery that kept low. Imam had another reprieve when he was given out lbw off Mehidy’s first ball. However, he successfully reviewed the decision as the ball was shown to be heading down the leg side. Imam reached his fifty with a six over midwicket off Mehidy and eventually fell for 78, bowled by Mehidy. Meanwhile, Mohammad Rizwan played a composed innings, finishing unbeaten on 63 from 79 balls, including a four and a six in his first ten deliveries.

Pakistan’s next challenge is against India in Colombo, with the Pakistan leg of the Asia Cup concluding on Wednesday.

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