Pakistan produced a clinical all-round performance to thrash hosts Bangladesh by eight wickets in the second T20I and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, on Saturday.
Fine bowling by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, and Shadab Khan helped Pakistan restrict Bangladesh to a paltry score of 108/7 in 20 overs.
In reply, the 85-run stand between Mohammad Rizwan (39 off 45) and Fakhar Zaman (57 off 51) for the second wicket helped Pakistan chase down the target in 18.1 overs. It was Bangladesh’s seventh T20I defeat in a row.
Chasing the small total, Pakistan lost their skipper Babar Azam in the third over for 1 run. After Babar’s wicket, Fakhar and Rizwan cautiously and took their team to 27/1 at the end of the powerplay.
The next four overs also fetched only one boundary for Pakistan but with the field spread out, there were plenty of runs on offer for the batters. With 10 overs to go, batters started to play aggressive cricket. Fakhar was given a reprieve by Saif Hasan, who dropped a skier in the deep. To make it worse, he let it trickle away for a four, helping Rizwan and Fakhar bring up their 50-run partnership.
The left-handed batsman punished the bowlers for bowling short to him, smashing two sixes en route to his seventh T20I fifty. Rizwan too got a lifeline after Taskin Ahmed dropped him but he got out two balls later in the 16th over bowled by Aminul Islam.
Fakhar and Haider Ali eventually completed the formalities and guided Pakistan to win, with 11 balls and eight wickets remaining.
Earlier, batting first, Bangladesh lost their openers in the first two overs after Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah won the toss and chose to bat first.
Back in the XI replacing Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi struck early yet again with a vintage in-swinger into the right-hander, trapping Saif Hassan in front for a golden duck. His fellow opener Mohammad Naim followed him back to the pavilion an over later.
However, Afif Hossain’s six in the next over off Afridi was a signal of intent from the batters as they started to counter-attack after the two early wickets. Najmul Hossain too kept finding the boundaries, taking Bangladesh to 36/2 in the powerplay.
Just when it looked like the batters had settled down, Afif (20) fell trying to play a cheeky reverse paddle against Shadab Khan. In spite of the wicket, Najmul Hossain continued to play attacking cricket to keep the scoreboard ticking. Skipper Mahmudullah (12) fell soon trying to dab the ball to third, only to catch the edge into the gloves of Rizwan in the 13th over of the innings.
Pakistan sent the other set batter Najmul Hossain (40) in the very next over. From there, the Pakistan bowlers gave no respite to the Bangladesh batters, bowling tight lengths to curb the flow of runs.
With pressure building, Pakistan kept picking up wickets at regular intervals as Bangladesh found the boundary just once in the last eight overs, limping to 108/7 in 20 overs.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 108/7 in 20 Overs (Najmul Hossain Shanto 40, Afif Hossain 20, Mahmudullah 12; Shaheen Afridi 2-15, Shadab Khan 2-22, Mohammad Wasim Jr 1-9) lost to Pakistan 109-2 in 18.1 Overs (Mohammad Rizwan 39, Fakhar Zaman 57; Mustafizur Rahman 1/12) by 8 wickets