October 24, 2016

Tigers roar into final with Pakistan win

File Photo

A beautiful 48 from Soumya Sarkar and a controlled performance from the bowlers led Bangladesh to a thrilling five-wicket win over Pakistan on Wednesday and into the Asia Cup final.
Chasing 130 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Tamim Iqbal and in-form Sabbir Rahman fell cheaply, but that Soumya innings defied the Pakistan bowling attack for a memorable win that took the Tigers into their second Asia Cup final in three editions.
Soumya was unlucky to miss out on a half century as speedster Mohammad Amir bowled him before the opener hit five fours and a six in his run-a-ball innings.
Following the departure of Soumya, Mushfiqur Rahim was pinned leg before the wicket while trying to play a reverse sweep and Amir bowled Shakib Al Hasan, but Mahmudullah (22 off 15 balls) and Mashrafe (12 in 7 deliveries) played gallantly to make sure the Tigers do not let the match slip out of their hands.
The crowd went crazy when Mahmudullah hit a six to bring the win in the first ball of the last over, something that looked difficult after the fall of Mushfiq and Shakib.
Earlier, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi opted to bat first after winning the toss, but the hosts bowlers made it a nightmare start for his batsmen.
Pakistan lost their fourth wicket with only 28 on the board, but Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik then added 70 in the fifth-wicket to save their blushes.
Sarfaraz was the top-scorer, hitting 58 off 42 balls with five fours and two sixes while Shoaib scored 41 off 30 balls with five fours and a six. Afridi went for a duck once again, as Pakistan’s innings went no further than 129.
Al-Amin Hossain was the chief tormentor for the Pakistanis, bagging three wickets for 25 while Arafat Sunny bagged a brace. Taskin Ahmed picked up a solitary wicket, but he was the most economic, conceding only 14 runs in his four overs.
The Tigers will now play India in the March 6 final, rendering the remaining two matches, India-UAE and Pakistan-Sri Lanka, mere formalities.
The win came on a day the flag of Bangladesh was hoisted for the first time back in 1971. The Tigers indeed celebrated the historic day in style.

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