Bangladesh stun Pak by 37 runs to set up Asia Cup final date with India
Abu Dhabi, September 27
Gritty Bangladesh set up a final clash with India in the Asia Cup after stunning Pakistan by 37 runs in the last Super Four match, riding on Mushfiqur Rahim’s valiant 99 here.
Mushfiqur notched up his 30th half-century, while Mohammad Mithun made 60 to lift Bangladesh to a decent 239 all out from a precarious position after skipper Mashrafe Mortaza opted to bat in the virtual semifinal on Wednesday night.
Mushfiqur was unlucky as he fell one short of what could have been his seventh ODI century but did enough to rescue Bangladesh with a 144-run fourth-wicket stand with Mithun after they were reduced to 12 for three inside five overs.
Later, opener Imam-ul-Haq (83) turned out to be the lone bright spot for Pakistan as they faltered in pursuit of the modest chase and were restricted to 202 for nine.
Bangladesh will now take on India in the title clash in Dubai on Friday.
Just like Bangladesh, Pakistan’s chase got off to a disastrous start as they were reduced to 18 for three in 3.3 overs.
But Imam did not give up the fight and stitched two crucial partnerships with Shoaib Malik (30) and Asif Ali (31) to keep Pakistan in the hunt.
Imam first stitched 67 runs for the fourth wicket with Malik and then shared a crucial 71-run partnership with Ali to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive.
But the day belonged to Bangladesh as they never gave up hope and fought tooth and nail to stay one step ahead of Pakistan in the match.
Pakistan did not have the best of starts as they lost Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed early.
Left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman (4/43) and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan (2/28) did the early damage for Bangladesh.
But the turning point of the match was Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s blinder of a catch at midwicket to remove Malik off Rubel Hossain’s bowling in the 21st over.
Mortaza dived full length to his left to latch on to a screamer as Malik went for a chip over midwicket.
That was the trigger that Bangladesh needed as they bowled and fielded brilliantly inside the circle to frustrate the Pakistani batsmen.
Imam and Ali raised some visions of a victory with their 71-run stand but dismissal of both the batsmen in quick succession derailed Pakistan’s chase.
Earlier, Bangladesh, too, were off to a horrendous start as they lost their first three wickets with the scoreboard reading just 12 in 4.2 overs.