Malik guides Pakistan to win against Bangladesh
Published : Friday, 24 January, 2020 at 6:42 PM Count : 165
Pakistan on Friday won the first Twenty20 International against Bangladesh by five wickets in Lahore, courtesy of a superb half-century by veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik.
The hosts, who were chasing a target of 142 runs set by Bangladesh, reached their goal with three balls to spare in the first contest of a three-match series.
Player of the match Malik (58 off 45) remained the top scorer for Pakistan while opener Ahsan Ali, who made his T20 debut today, contributed 36 runs off 32 balls.
Bangladesh, who had won the toss and opted to bat on a flat Gaddafi Stadium pitch, earlier finished their allotted 20 overs at 141-5.
Only openers Mohammad Naim, who hit 43 off 41 and Tamim Iqbal, who made 39 from 34, batted with authority.
Naim smashed two sixes and three boundaries while Iqbal had four boundaries and a six in his knock. Skipper Mahmudullah chipped in with a quick 14-ball 19 which included two boundaries.
Pakistan handed Twenty20 debuts to pacer Haris Rauf and Ali in a series they must win 3-0 to retain their world number one ranking in the format.
The remaining two matches are also in Lahore, on Saturday and Monday.
After the toss, Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah expressed the hope that his team would be able to post a decent total on a pitch where the average score is 130. He said his team was confident, as several players had recently had a successful run at the Bangladesh Premier League.
Commenting on the toss, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said he would have made the same choice had he won.
"That was the plan. But now that we are bowling, we will try to bowl them out as soon as we can and chase [successfully]," he said.
'Do or die'
The series is a critical one for Pakistan, who are struggling to retain their top spot in the International Cricket Council's world T20 ranking, which they have held since 2018. Recently, Pakistan have had an unimpressive run in T20s — in October, they were whitewashed by an amateur Sri Lankan team in Lahore and lost another series to Australia a month later.
“Every match is a do-or-die for us,” Babar, who replaced Sarfaraz Ahmed as skipper, told a press conference on Thursday. “We have planned accordingly, we have talked to the players that they should give 110 per cent since the focus is to continue the number one ranking. We can hang on to that only if we win all three matches.”
"We have been preparing well and we will try not to repeat the same mistakes that we did against Sri Lanka,” said Babar. “We played four matches during the training camp and the team has gelled well. Our team is a good combination of senior and junior players and I’m expecting a good result."
Meanwhile, Bangladesh, whose tour was confirmed last week, have a strong batting line-up with the inclusion of Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Naim and Liton Das. Batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who refused to accompany his team due to his family's concerns, is the only notable absence.
As part of strict security measures for the series, about 10,300 security personnel have been posted at different points and roads have been blocked within a two-kilometre radius of the Gaddafi Stadium. Spectators were driven to the stadium in shuttles.
The tour is of significance for Pakistan, as it is another step towards efforts to assure the world that the country is safe to host international cricket. Bangladesh had initially declined to play a Test in Pakistan, proposing that the match be held on a neutral venue. The Pakistan Cricket Board, however, refused to hold the match elsewhere.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmad, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Shadab Khan, Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi, Muhammad Musa, Usman Qadir and Haris Rauf
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud