Pakistan edged past Bangladesh in the low-scoring thriller at the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur. They beat Bangladesh by four wickets and went 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Bangladesh were well and truly in the game for the most part but a powerful partnership between Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan lower down the order took the game away from Bangladesh. There were useful contributions from Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah. Pakistan were at one stage staring down the barrel at 24 for four chasing 128 but Bangladesh couldn't sustain the momentum till the end.
Despite the absence of the in-form Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan dominated Bangladesh in the powerplay. Mohammad Naim was the first batter to be dismissed in the second over of the match as he chased a delivery away from his body and ended up edging the ball. Hasan Ali accounted for his wicket.
Saif Hassan and Najmul Hossain Shanto - who have been given the responsibility to bat at the top of the order in this series - struggled against the Pakistani seamers. Saif Hassan, on his debut, had a torrid time with the bat and was done by some seam movement away from him. Saif made just one run off eight deliveries and his wicket was claimed by Mohammad Wasim Jr. Wasim got rid of Shanto in the next over, leaving Bangladesh reeling at 15 for three in the fifth over.
Afif Hossain came out with a positive intent and looked to score right from the beginning. Walking out to bat at four, the southpaw rotated the strike regularly and tried to rebuild the innings with skipper Mahmudullah. But the latter was bowled by a beautiful delivery bowled by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz in the ninth over. Bangladesh were then in further trouble at 40 for four after nine overs.
Afif Hossain survived a leg-before shout when he was 19 off 23 balls. He was given out on the field but the decision was overturned when sent upstairs. That over bowled by Shadab Khan was a maiden.
Afif's innings regained momentum in the next over when he hit Mohammad Nawaz for two consecutive sixes in the next over. 15 came off the 11th over. But Shadab came back in the next over and got rid of Afif. The southpaw scored 36 off 34 balls with the help of two fours and two sixes. Bangladesh were 61 for five in the 13th over then.
Nurul Hasan and Mahedi Hasan added 35 off just 24 balls for the fifth wicket. It was the highest partnership in the innings for Bangladesh. Nurul hit two sixes in his important knock of 28 off 22 balls.
Bangladesh finished strongly with the bat thanks to Mahedi Hasan's excellent cameo of unbeaten 30 off 20 balls. His innings involved a four and two maximums. Taskin Ahmed smashed Haris Rauf for a massive six in the last ball of the innings. The 20th over yielded 15 runs which helped Bangladesh reach 127 for seven after 20 overs. Bangladesh took 87 runs in the last 10 overs.
Defending a moderate total, Bangladesh couldn't have asked for a better start. They removed the prolific duo of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam inside four overs. Rizwan was castled by Mustafizur Rahman in the third over and Babar had to face the same fate in the next over bowled by Taskin. Haider Ali, the Pakistan number three, went for a duck as he was pinned leg-before by Mahedi in the next over.
Pakistan discovered themselves in a bigger hole when Shoaib Malik was run out in the last over of the powerplay. The experienced campaigner was late to get back inside the crease after guiding the ball to the keeper and Nurul Hasan hit the stumps directly. Pakistan were 24 for four after the powerplay.
Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah kept the scoreboard ticking over and just when the duo was threatening to take the game away from Bangladesh, Taskin Ahmed sent back the former in the 15th over. They added 46 for the fifth wicket before Fakhar got out for 34. When he was dismissed, Pakistan still needed 48 runs off 34 balls with five wickets in hand.
Shoriful Islam got rid of the dangerous Khushdil in the 17th over for 34 and Pakistan required 32 off the last three. But Mustafizur leaked 15 runs in the 18th over as Shadab and Nawaz took him on. The gamble of giving Mustafizur the 18th over didn't work at all.
Nawaz hit Shoriful for two sixes in the penultimate over and that almost sealed the deal for Pakistan. 36 came from the seventh wicket partnership between Shadab and Nawaz off just 2.3 overs and that helped Pakistan reach the target in 19.2 overs. Nawaz was unbeaten on 18 off eight and Shadab on 21 off 10 deliveries.