PESHAWAR: Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the first match of the three-match T20 series at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday.
Bangladesh decided to bat first after winning the toss and scored 141 runs for the loss of five wickets. The visitors were restricted by disciplined bowling by the hosts with too many dots.
Mohammad Naim was the top scorer for Bangladesh with 41 runs, while Tamim Iqbal scored 39 and captain Mahmudullah scored 19.
For Pakistan, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi and debutant Haris Rauf took one wicket each.
Pakistan surpassed the target in the last over with the loss of five wickets. Shoaib Malik, who made a comeback to the team after a long break, was top scorer with 58, Ahsan Ali, another debutant scored 36 and Iftikhar Ahmed scored 16. Mohammad Hafeez, another comeback batsman, scored 17. Captain Babar Azam, top-ranking T20 batsman, was out without scoring.
For Bangladesh, Shafiul Islam took two wickets and Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain and Soumya Sarkar took one wicket each.
Shoaib Malik was declared player of the match for his brilliant fifty after comeback to the team after a year. He used all his experience on a slow and difficult track to take Pakistan through the target. “From the beginning what I saw was that against the new ball you could play through the line. Credit goes to the bowlers, they restricted them even after a good start. Fielding was very good, everyone was running around. When you’re chasing you give yourself a chance by taking it deep,” Shoaib Malik said after the match.
Captain Babar Azam said it was an important victory for Paksitan. “The way the bowlers did was brilliant. We didn’t expect the pitch would be this slow, but the way our bowlers planned for it, I give them all the credit. One thing to improve on is the way we bat in the powerplay.”
With Friday’s win, Pakistan gained 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The next match of the series will be played tomorrow (Saturday). Pakistan will have to clean-sweep the series to maintain top ranking in the shortest format of the game.