Pakistan out of Asia Cup as Bangladesh seal final berth


Dhaka—Bangladesh have beaten Pakistan by five wickets and booked their place in the final of the Asia Cup T20 2016, where they will face India. Soumya Sarkar was their star as his run-a-ball 48 was pivotal in ensuring that Bangladesh got over the line. Bangladesh lost the wicket of Tamim Iqbal early in the innings for just seven, trapped in front off Mohammad Irfan. Man in form Sabbir Rahman then walked in and built a steady 33-run stand with Sarkar. But Pakistan skipper fooled him with a quick one and it went straight through Sabbir to clean him up for just 14.
Sarkar however had gotten off to a good start, something that has eluded him in the tournament until now. He went on to make good use of it as he guided Bangladesh to a comprehensive win. He went after Anwar Ali and smashed him for 14 runs in the 10th over of the innings. Some poor fielding on Pakistan’s part too added to their woes.
Mushfiqur Rahim gave as much strike as possible to Sarkar, who was going great guns at the other end. The wicket of Sarkar turned out to be the turning point of the match as Pakistan managed to sneak the wicket of Mushfiqur soon after that. Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan then played sensible cricket, picking the ones and twos. Mohammad Aamer was then brought back in the 18th over and he got the important wicket of Shakib to give Pakistan a glimmer of hope.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza then came in and smashed a couple of boundaries off consecutive deliveries, which helped them breathe a sigh of relief. Mohammad Sami was entrusted to bowl the penultimate over. After three excellent deliveries, Sami overstepped and Mortaza hit the ball straight into long off’s throat. The free hit just cost them one run. But Sami bowled another no ball that was crashed to the boundary by Mahmudullah. That turned out ti be the final nail in the coffin for Pakistan.
It was a good effort by the Pakistan bowlers, but they fell about 20 runs short today. Their next match will be against Sri Lanka in a couple of days time, which is of no significance as this loss has ensured that both teams will no longer be in contention to make it to the final, regardless of the outcome of that match.
Earlier, Pakistani skipper Shahid Afridi elected to bat first against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium in Dhaka after winning the toss.
Pakistan lost its earlier game against India, but survived a match against the UAE.
India has so far remained the tournament’s unbeatable champion winning all three matches it played.
Bangladesh star bowler Mustafizur Rehman will not play the match today, after he suffered an injury during a match with Sri Lanka. Rehman played a vital part in the team’s victory.
Pakistan have brought in Anwar Ali in place of Mohammad Nawaz.
Pakistan Team: Mohammad Hafeez, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Shahid Afridi*, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan
Bangladesh Team: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim†, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza*, Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taskin Ahmed.—AFP

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