Dhaka: Talented opener Ahmed Shehzad scored a brilliant hundred as Pakistan predictably crushed hosts Bangladesh by 50 runs in a Group 2 league encounter of the ICC World T20 to keep their semi-final hopes alive here today.
The result also eliminated Australia from the tournament and Pakistan and West Indies will fight out for the second semifinal spot with India having already qualified for the last-four stage from Group 2.
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Batting first, Pakistan scored a commanding 190 for five with Shehzad (111 not out) hitting his maiden T20 International century which was laced with 10 boundaries and five sixes from 62 deliveries. Shehzad was later adjudged Man of the Match.
In reply, it was yet another listless show from Bangladesh as they could score only 140 for seven as they lost their fourth successive match (including last game in the qualifying round) on trot.
Umar Gul (3/30) and Shahid Afridi (1/21) kept the Bangladeshi batsmen under wraps as the home side never looked like putting up a decent fight.
The match belonged to 22-year-old Shehzad, touted as the ‘Next Big Thing in Pakistan cricket after Umar Akmal. He was off the blocks in a flash as he blasted the listless Bangladeshi bowling attack with a wide array of strokes on both sides of the wicket.
The mayhem started in the third over bowled by Mashrafe Mortaza that went for 18 runs. Shehzad hit three successive boundaries. The first one was over mid-wicket, the next through deep square leg and the last one through the covers.
Ahmed Shehzad not out 111
Kamran Akmal c Ziaur b Razzak 9
Mohammad Hafeez st Rahim b Razzak 8
Umar Akmal c Tamim b Mahmudullah 0
Shoaib Malik st Rahim b Shakib 26
Shahid Afridi c Ziaur b Al Amin 22
Sohaib Maqsood not out 1
Extras: (b3, w9, nb1) 13
Total (for five wickets, 20 overs) 190
Fall of wickets: 1-43 (Kamran), 2-70 (Hafeez), 3-71 (Umar Akmal), 4-154 (Malik), 5-188 (Afridi).
Bowling: Mortaza 4-0-63-0 (nb1, w5), Al Amin 4-0-37-1, Shakib 4-0-21-1 (w1), Razzak 4-0-20-2 (w3), Mahmudullah 3-0-24-1, Ziaur 1-0-22-0.
Tamim Iqbal b Gul 16
Anamul Haque c and b Ajmal 18
Shakib Al Hasan c Umar Akmal b Gul 38
Shamsur Rahman c Kamran b Afridi 4
Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Babar 2
Nasir Hossain st Kamran b Ajmal 23
Mohammad Mahmudullah not out 17
Ziaur Rahman c Kamran b Gul 0
Mashrafe Mortaza not out 17
Extras: (lb3, w2) 5
Total (for seven wickets, 20 overs) 140
Fall of wickets: 1-30 (Tamim), 2-36 (Anamul), 3-44 (Shamsur), 4-47 (Rahim), 5-91 (Shakib), 6-112 (Nasir), 7-116 (Ziaur).
Bowling: Hafeez 3-0-16-0, Tanvir 3-0-26-0, Gul 4-0-30-3 (w1), Ajmal 3-0-20-2, Babar 3-0-24-1 (w1), Afridi 4-0-21-1
Pakistan won by 50 runs
Umpires: Ian Gould (ENG) and Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)
The Pakistan innings:
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first against Bangladesh. The openers, especially Ahmed Shehzad started aggressively hitting boundaries at will.
By the end of 3 overs, Pakistan were 34/0 with Shehzad scoring 28 runs.
Pakistan lost Kamran Akmal in the fifth over as Ziaur Rehman took a good flying catch on the bowling of Abdur Razak.
Although Mohammad Hafeez struggled, Shehzad continued his free-flowing strokeplay. Shehzad reached his fifty in the 10th over. But right before and after that, Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal.
But that did not stop Shehzad either. He and Malik ran quite a few quick singles and doubles before Shehzad launched into the attack. He hit 2 fours and 2 sixes in the 13th over as Pakistan crossed 100-run mark.
The pair of Malik and Shehzad continued to frustrate Bangladesh bowlers as Pakistan brought up their 150 in the 17th over.
Shehzad reached his first International hundred in T20s in the 18th over. By achieving that feat, he became Pakistan’s first batsman to score a hundred in the shortest format of the game.
Pakistan lost Shoaib Malik in the same over before Shehzad reached his three figures. But Afridi made sure that Pakistan inning did not lose its momentum with a quick-fire 22-run knock in 9 balls.
Eventually, Pakistan put up 190 runs on the board.
Pakistan and Bangladesh have made a change each in the team that faced Australia and India respectively. have included Sohail Tanvir in the playing XI in place of Bilawal Bhatti. Bangladesh dropped Sohag Gazi to bring in Abdur Razzak in the team.
While Pakistan will be looking forward to win this game and seal their place in the semi-final, their loss will offer Australia a mathematical chance to qualify for the semi-final when they face India later today.