GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Title-holders Pakistan were handed a slight scare before smothering Bangladesh by 21 runs and making a successful start to their defence of the World Twenty20 Championship yesterday.
Defending a healthy 172 for three after they won the toss and batted first at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium, Pakistan were put on the ropes by a 91-run third wicket stand between Mohammad Ashraful and captain Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh threatened.
But once Mohammad Sami returned for a telling second spell, he disrupted the partnership and sent the innings into decline to leave the Tigers on 151 for seven when the overs ran out.
Sami, finished with figures of three for 29 including two in one over, and accounted for Shakib who stroked 47 from 31 balls. Ashraful, meanwhile, cracked the top score of 65 from 49 balls.
With Bangladesh under pressure at 31 for two in the sixth over, the duo came together in a daring stand that required a mere 59 balls and which sent worry throughout the Pakistan camp.
Both batsmen were bold and adventurous with Shakib striking three fours and two sixes and the ultra aggressive Ashraful hammering four fours and three sixes.
Sami was recalled and he struck with just his second ball of the 15th over when Shakib failed to clear Umar Akmal at long-off at 122 for three.
With just one run added, Mahmudullah popped the final delivery of the over to point as Bangladesh slipped to 123 for four.
Ashraful looked set to carry on but when his improvised leg-side scoop was held by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal at 140 for five in the 18th over, the backbone of Bangladesh’s resistance had been broken.
Earlier, Pakistan had benefitted from a rollicking opening partnership of 142 between Man-of-the-Match Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt who both stroked 73 in contrasting styles.
While Akmal was ferocious in his stroke-play in gathering eight fours and one six off a mere 55 balls, the left-handed Butt was an elegant foil punching eight fours and one six off 46 balls.
Akmal was the first to go, caught by Abdur Razzak at point off Shakib in the 16th over while Butt was the third wicket to fall, bowled by medium pacer Shafiul Islam hunting quick runs in the 19th over.
Shakib Al Hasan finished with two wickets for 27 with his left-arm slow stuff.
+Kamran Akmal c Abdur Razzak b Shabik Al Hassan 73
Salman Butt b Shafiul Islam 73
*Shahid Afridi c Mahmudullah b Shakib Al Hasan 9
Abdul Razzaq not out 6
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 8
Extras (lb2, w1) 3
TOTAL (3 wkts, 20 overs) 172
Fall of wickets: 1-142, 2-156, 3-158.
Did not bat: Muhammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Sami, Saeed Ajmal.
Bowling: Masrafe Bin Mortaza 4-0-39-0, Abdur Razzak 4-0-41-0, Shafiul Islam 4-0-25-1, Naeem Islam 2-0-18-0, Shakib Al Hasan 4-0-27-2, Suhrawadi Shuro 1-0-12-0, Mohammad Ashraful 1-0-8-0.
Tamim Iqbal c & b Mohammad Hafeez 19
Imrul Kayes c Mishah-ul-Haq b Mohammad Aamer 0
Mohammad Ashraful c wkpr Kamran Akmal
b Mohammad Amer 65
*Shakib Al Hasan c Umar Akmal b Mohammad Sami 47
Mahmudullah c Mohammad Aamer b Mohammad Sami 0
Naeem Islam not out 10
+Mushfiqur Rahim c Saeed Ajmal b Mohammad Sami 4
Mashrafe Mortaza st Kamran Akmal b Saeed Ajmal 1
Suhrawadi Shuvo not out 1
Extras (w3, nb1) 4
TOTAL (7 wkts, 20 overs) 151
Did not bat: Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak.
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-31, 3-122, 4-123, 5-140, 6-145, 7-150.
Bowling: Mohammad Aamer 4-0-16-2, Mohammad Sami 4-0-29-3, Mohammad Hafeez 3-0-28-1, Abdul Razzaq 2-0-23-0, Saeed Ajmal 3-0-18-1, Shahid Afridi 4-0-37-0.
Result: Pakistan won by 21 runs
Points: Pakistan 2, Bangladesh 0
Man-of-the-Match: Kamran Akmal
Umpires: EAR de Silva, Rod Tucker; TV – Shavir Tarapore.
Matchreferee: Ranjan Madugalle.