Mirpur: Bangladesh feasted on a below bowling and fielding effort from Pakistan to pile up their highest-ever ODI total of 326 for three in 50 overs in a must-win game of the Asia Cup cricket tournament here today.
While opener Anamul Haque build the foundation with a patient 100 off 132 balls with six fours and four sixes, it was their senior-most stars Mushfiqur Rahim (51 no, 33 balls) and Shakib al Hasan (44 no, 16 balls), who finished the innings with a smashing 77-run partnership in only 5.3 overs.
Opener Imrul Kayes (59 from 75 balls; 5×4, 2×6) who added 150 runs for the opening stand with Anamul and Mominul Haque (51 off 47 balls) also made useful contributions to prop up Bangladesh total.
Returning from a three-match suspension, premier allrounder Shakib’s innings was studded with six fours and two sixes as Bangladesh scored 68 runs in the last five overs to eclipse their previous best score of 320/8 against Zimbabwe during their tour of 2009.
Skipper Rahim also struck eight fours while Mominul with six boundaries also made their presence felt with eye-catching knocks.
A win for Bangladesh would also boost India’s hopes as they would have to win by a bonus point against Afghanistan tomorrow. Should there be a tie in the points tally net run rate would come into play.
Nothing went Pakistan’s way in the match. From spilling a catch at slip when Kayes was on zero in the first over to a some woeful misfieldings that had Misbah-ul-Haq dumbfounded, Pakistan looked disjointed and disoriented right from the start.
The worst came for Pakistan when their left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman who was included in place of left-arm pacer Junaid Khan was barred from bowling after bowling a hat-trick of ‘beamers’ with unprecedented figures of 0-0-8-0.
Another thing that baffled many was the team’s decision to take out the ace spinner Saeed Ajmal after his brilliant first spell of three overs that conceded only four runs.
Ajmal once again looked the best bowler of the day during the first part before he gave away 52 runs in his final four overs.
Surprisingly, when it was needed to break the century-plus opening partnership, Pakistani skipper Misbah-ul-Haq chose to keep the ace off-spinner out of the attack as the duo of Kayes and Haque cruised to 101 runs in 18 overs.
The duo put on 150 runs in 28.2 overs, Bangladesh’s second highest opening partnership after the 170 by Shahriar Hossain and Mehrab Hossain against Zimbabwe in 1999 as Mohammad Talha broke the stand taking the wicket of Kayes.
Ajmal was brought on finally in the 36th over to complete his quota as he dismissed Haque with a deceiving doosra immediately after scoring his second ODI century.
Haque stepped out to Ajmal immediately after getting to three figures but was holed out at deep midwicket.