WT20: Afridi leads from front as Pakistan hammer Bangladesh

A superb all-round display by skipper Shahid Afridi saw Pakistan register an emphatic 55-run victory against Bangladesh in their World Twenty20 group encounter at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday

Kolkata: Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez added 95 in 68 balls for the second wicket while Shahid Afridi finally found his 'boom boom' form as Pakistan put a total too far for Bangladesh in their Super 10 Group 2 match at the Eden Gardens yesterday.

Shahid Afridi
Pakistan's skipper Shahid Afridi celebrates with his team-mates after taking a Bangladeshi wicket during their World T20 match at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wedneday. Pic/PTI

Chasing 202 in 20 overs, Bangladesh managed a meagre 146-6 to go down by 55 runs. Under fire in Pakistan for his recent "more love in India" comments and continued poor form, Afridi came into his own with a 19-ball 49 that had four boundaries and an equal number of sixes. The Pakistan skipper came back to complete a fulfilling day with a couple of wickets with his leg-spin-googly mix.

Soumya goes early
With over 10 runs-an-over to chase, Bangladesh needed a good start but Mohammad Amir sent back Soumya Sarkar in the very first over, and the 'Tigers' played catch-up right through. Opener Tamim Iqbal, flush from a century against Oman, teamed up with all-rounder Shabbir Rahman to add a brisk 43 runs (32 balls) for the second wicket. Then, when all seemed lost, Shakib Al Hasan hammered an unbeaten 50 off 40 deliveries.

Earlier, Pakistan showed intent from the very onset as Sharjeel Khan and Shehzad went after the bowling. The left-handed Sharjeel, who could've gone in the
second ball of the day had Tamim Iqbal not misjudged a catch at mid-on, hammered Al-Amin for 18 in the next over with a couple of sixes and a boundary. His departure in the next over brought Hafeez and Shehzad together and the run-rate went into a steady climb.

Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi in action. Pic/ AFP

Hafeez, Shehzad fire
The Bangladesh attack, without the in-form Mustafizur Rahman, was a pale shadow of the one that took their team to the Asia Cup final earlier this month, and the Pakistanis made the most of it. Hafeez went on to score 64 in 42 deliveries while Shehzad got a 39-ball 52.

Afridi, coming in at the fall of Shehzad's wicket, wasted no time as he carted Bangladesh skipper Mortaza for a couple of fours and a six off successive deliveries and the 15th over fetched 18 runs. He continued to blast his way before he was caught just short of the long-on rope and his fifty.

The only Pakistan batsman to miss out on the run-feast was Umar Akmal, and his dismal for a duck may well have something to do with the war of words he had with Tamim a couple of deliveries earlier. It had the two umpires intervening. Pakistan have warmed up nicely for the marquee match against India on Saturday.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 201/5 in 20 overs (Muhammad Hafeez 64, Ahmed Shahzad 52, Shahid Afridi 49; Arafat Sunny 2/32) vs Bangladesh 146/6 (Shakib Al Hasan 50 not out; Mohammad Amir 2/28, Afridi 2/27).

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