Dhaka: They fought like the real tigers…they had been doing that throughout the tournament. But despite a fierce fight, Bangladesh’s hopes of winning their maiden Asia Cup were dashed to ground as they fell short by three runs against Pakistan in a thriller that went to the wire at the Sher-E-Bangla Stadium on Thursday.
Aizaz Cheema was the pick of the bowler for Pakistan as despite being costly initially, the pacer struck sever blows to the hosts by grabbing three of the most important wickets in the form of set Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Abdur Razzak (in the very last over). Fast bowler Umar Gul and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal finished with two wickets each as Pakistan stopped Bangladesh at 234-8 after scoring 236-9 in the day-night match.
Chasing a modest 237, the Bangla Tigers started off well as Tamim Iqbal and Nazimuddin took the hosts past 50-mark without giving away any wicket. Tamim Iqbal in the process scored his fourth consecutive half century. But soon Afridi gave Pakistan the first break as he ended Nazimuddin's challenge and before the hosts could recover form the first blow, Ajmal scalped Islam at the score of 68. Umar Gul then got rid of Tamim Iqbal (60) and soon Bangladesh were struggling for 81 for 3 in 24 th over.
Thereafter Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain started the rebuilding process for their team and added 89 wicket for the fifth wicket before Umar got Hossain caught by Misbah-ul-Haq. Though the duo added some valuable runs to the score, they took far too many balls for the same and that in a way proved costly towards the end. 13 balls later, Aizaz Cheema cleaned bowled set Shakib and the match turned into Pakistan’s favour.
But Bangla Tigers off late have turned into fighters and they exactly the same and fought till the last ball, compelling everyone to keep their fingers crossed.
Bangladeshi bowlers did wonderfully well to restrict Pakistan to 236 for nine in the Asia Cup final at the Shere Bangla National Stadium here Thursday.
Opting to field, Bangladesh took wickets at regular intervals as the Pakistanis failed to stitch a good partnership.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak was the pick of the bowlers giving away only 26 runs in his ten overs and taking two wickets. Mashrafe Mortaza and Shakib-al-Hasan also picked up two wickets each.
Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez (40) held one end but lost wickets around him. Umar Akmal (30) and Hammad Azam (30) put on a stand of 59 runs for the fifth wicket but fell in quick succession to again put the Pakistan team on the backfoot.
Pakistan would have been in deep trouble if it wasn't for some late heroics by keeper Sarfraz Ahmed (46). Sarfraz smashed pacer Shahadat Hossain -- who had a day to forget giving away 63 runs off nine overs -- for 19 runs in the last over as Pakistan reached a fighting total.
Shahid Afridi (32) took on the Bangladeshi bowling but a wonderful running catch by Nasir Hossain off Shakib sent the mercurial batsman back to the hut.
Bangladesh put a spirited performance in the field and the slower bowlers had a field day, sharing five wickets between them. Shakib, a former captain, continued his good all-round performance in the tournament with figures of 2-39.