Saturday Jan 25, 2020
Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by nine wickets in the second T20I at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday. The win gave them their first series win in the format since 2018.
Set a modest 137-run target, the hosts' run-chase suffered an early setback when Ahsan Ali, frustrated by his inability to get off the mark on six attempts, tried an ugly hoick in the second over and was caught, prompting Mohammad Hafeez to walk in.
Him and captain Babar Azam made sure there were no further setbacks in the first five overs, at the end of which the score read 33-1.
The duo brought up their 50-stand in the 9th over and by the end of the 10th, Pakistan had 68 on the board and cruising towards a series win, barring a Bangladeshi miracle.
From that point on, Bangladesh almost found no joy as they bowled bad lines, dropped catch(es) and conceded runs far more frequently than they'd have liked.
Babar and Hafeez took full advantage, completing their fifties and getting their side home comfortably with 20 balls to spare and nine wickets in hand.
The skipper finished with a 44-ball 66 whereas his veteran partner contributed 67 runs off 49 deliveries.
Babar was named the man of the match, although some could argue that Hafeez was the more deserving.
Earlier, the visitors won the toss and decided to bat first — just as they had done in the first T20I.
Pakistan did not have to wait long for the first wicket. The breakthrough came in the second over when a fired-up Shaheen Afridi had Mohammad Naim nick one back to the keeper Mohammad Rizwan.
While the stadium was the same as the first T20I, the pitch used was a different one and had more grass comparatively. It meant that the pacers were expected to get more joy than they got on the flat track of the opener.
Mohammad Hasnain certainly was liking it better as he picked up his first wicket of the series, surprising Mahedi Hasan with extra bounce and getting him caught with a top edge. He could have added another, beating Tamim Iqbal with a beautiful inswinger, only for Rizwan to drop the inside edge.
The loss of wickets meant that the runs did not flow. At the end of 5 overs, Bangladesh had a mere 27 on board for the loss of two wickets.
The game also managed to attract some Pakistani players not picked for the series.
Shadab Khan had Liton Das trapped in front of the wicket in a dismissal that was given out, seemed not out from the naked out, but was eventually ruled against the batsman even after the review. The ball would have nicked the leg stump by the smallest of margins.
At the end of 10, Bangladesh were 57-3 and clearly struggling for runs and any sort of rhythm. Their only hope was that Tamim Iqbal was still there.
Tamim and young Afif Hossain formed a 45-run partnership but just when Bangladesh needed them to accelerate, Hasnain bowled an excellent 15th over and had the youngster caught at third man. With 5 overs left, the Tigers were 88-4 and in need for a late push.
That push came in the 16th over when Tamim went after Shadab, bleeding him for three boundaries and 14 runs. However, his 65-run innings came to an end in the 18th courtesy some uncharacteristically quality fielding from Pakistan. Imad Wasim ran the batter out with a direct throw.
In the end, some impressive death bowling meant that Bangladesh could only finish at 136-6 in their allotted 20 overs.
The hosts hold a 1-0 lead in the series, thanks to their five-wicket win in the series opener on Friday. Shoaib Malik had played a pivotal role in letting the hosts draw first blood with an unbeaten 58 in a 142-run chase.
Of the fringe players who started the first T20I, only Mohammad Hasnain was an out-and-out failure, going wicketless and conceding 36 runs in his four overs at an economy rate of 9 — almost two higher than Bangladesh's innings run-rate of 7.05.
It would be unwise to break a winning combination and harsh to drop the speedster on just one performance, but coach Misbah-ul-Haq has been a habitual tinkerman, meaning it won't be a massive surprise if Muhammad Musa gets a look in.
A victory today will net Pakistan their first T20I series win since 2018. Back then they had whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 in the UAE. Since then, they have lost four straight series to South Africa, England, Sri Lanka and Australia — winning just one match in that span.
Pakistan made no changes to the line-up, while the visitors brought in Mahedi for Mithun
Pakistan: Babar, Ahsan, Hafeez, Malik, ifthikhar, imad, Rizwan, Shadab, Shaheen, Hasnain, Rauf
Bangladesh: Naim, Tamim, Soumya, Liton, Mahmudukllah, Afif, Mahedi, Al-Amin, Shafiul, Mustafizur, Aminul