Bangladesh’s middle order batting lineup collapsed once again as the Tigers suffered a 21-run defeat to Pakistan in their opening game of the T20I tri-nation series at Hagley Oval in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.
Bangladesh looked to seal the deal in emphatic fashion after restricting Pakistan to 167-5 as they lost four wickets for 14 runs in the middle overs, which eventually held them back to 146-8.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Sabbir Rahman, Bangladesh’s experimental opening pair added 25 runs off 26 before falling apart. Mehidy scored 10 off 11 before falling prey to Mohammad Wasim Jr.
Sabbir played seven more balls than Mehidy to score 14 runs. The right-handed batters then fell to Haris Rauf. It was a back-of-a-length delivery in the middle and leg. Sabbir tried to push it to the leg side, but played it early and only managed a leading edge. Haris took the catch of his own delivery.
Liton Das and Afif Hossain tried hard adding 50 runs in the third wicket stand, but after the partnership was broken, Bangladesh lost its way. Liton struck 35 off 26 with four fours and a six while Afif managed 25 off 23 with a four and a six.
Mohammad Nawaz removed Liton and Mosadek from two consecutive deliveries. Captain Nurul Hasan came at number six and posted only 8 off 9 balls.
For Pakistan, Wasim Jr bagged three wickets and Nawaz took two.
“We’re disappointed. The wicket was good but I think we need to improve in a few areas. The bowlers did well but we can tweak in a few areas and then we lost too many wickets in the middle. Liton, Afif and Yasir batted well. There were some positives in the game. Taskin bowled well and took a few wickets for us,” Nurul said after the match.
Earlier, Pakistan opener Mohammad Rizwan hit an unbeaten 78 to guide Pakistan to a challenging total of 167 after they were sent into the bat first by Bangladesh.
The world’s top-ranked T20 batsman Rizwan decorated his innings tallying seven fours and two sixes in a chanceless 50-ball knock.
It was the 30-year-old’s 21st half-century in the format, continuing his form from last month’s T20 series against England, when he compiled a series-leading 316 runs.
His average in the format of 54.34 stands alone among the top 150 run-scorers. The next best is India’s Virat Kohli (50.84).
Rizwan and Babar Azam had an opening stand of 52 runs before Mehidy Hasan Miraz removed Babar for 22 off 25 balls.
Pakistan’s number three Shan Masood scored 31 off 22 balls. He fell prey to left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed.
While Rizwan was firm at one end of the wicket, Bangladesh were getting success from the other end. They scalped Haider Ali (6), Iftikhar Ahmed (13) and Asif Ali (4) before they got the rhythm in the middle.
Mustafizur Rahman and Hasan Mahmud conceded 90 runs in eight overs taking only one wicket. In contrast, Taskin Ahmed was the most successful bowler who took two wickets conceding 25 runs in four overs.
Rizwan said being patient after being sent in laid the foundation for a winning score.
“Early on the ball was a little bit grippy but me and the skipper decided to keep things simple,” Rizwan said. “We did very well but I thought we were 10 to 15 runs short on this kind of pitch,” he said.
“After that, the bowlers bowled very well to the plan,” he concluded.
Bangladesh will take on New Zealand in their next match on Sunday at 12:00pm (BST). Before that, Pakistan will play against the hosts New Zealand today at 12:00pm, both at the same venue.