Malik’s half-century helps Pakistan win first T20 against Bangladesh

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LAHORE Recalled Shoaib Malik smashed a solid half-century to anchor Pakistan’s fivewicket win over Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 international in Lahore on Friday. Malik’s 45-ball 58 not out for his eighth Twenty20 fifty was instrumental as Pakistan overhauled a modest 142-run target in 19.3 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Bangladesh had managed 141-5 in their 20 overs with openers Mohammad Naim scoring a 41-ball 43 and Tamim Iqbal hitting a 34-ball 39 as Pakistan’s three-man pace attack kept them in check on a flat Gaddafi Stadium pitch. The win further consolidated Pakistan’s chances of hanging on to their world number one ranking in the shortest format. If they lose any of the remaining matches — on Saturday and Monday, also in Lahore — Australia will replace them at the top. Lahore’s foggy weather prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to start the match at 2pm but it failed to attract more than 10,000 people in a stadium with 24,000 capacity. Bangladesh could not put up a reasonable fight as Pakistan won their first match after losing six of their last seven T20 matches with one washed out. Player of the match Malik, playing his first match since February last year, was in sublime form as he hit five boundaries and added 46 for the third wicket with debutant Ahsan Ali who made a 32- ball 36 with four boundaries. Malik, the fourth-highest run-getter in Twenty20 internationals with 2,321 in a record 112 matches, credited bowlers for the win. “Congratulations to the whole Pakistan forthis win and for hosting another match,” said Malik. “It wasn’t an easy pitch and our bowlers restricted them to a gettable total. “It’s tough to be in and out of the team but I have been playing leagues and domestic cricket and that helped me stage a comeback in this match. —Agencies