Bangladesh stun Pakistan, to clash with India in Asia Cup final in Dubai

Bangladesh stun Pakistan, to clash with India in Asia Cup final in Dubai
Bangladesh batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim (left) and Mohammad Mithun were involved in a 144-run partnership against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi - Mushfiqur Rahim (99) and Mustafizur Rahman (4 for 43) star in Tigers' 37-run win.

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 27 Sep 2018, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 Sep 2018, 12:50 AM

Bangladesh stunned Pakistan into submission and marched into the Asia Cup 2018 final to challenge India.

An all-round performance led by Mushfiqur Rahim (99 from 116 balls) and Mustafizur Rahman (four for 43 runs) helped Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 37 runs in the 'semifinal' at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Pakistan did run things close with Junaid Khan (four for 19 runs) and Imam Ul Haq (83 from 105 balls).

Pakistan and Bangladesh are teams in transition. And their on-field actions have been unbelievably similar this tournament. The good and bad moves, styles of play and getting out too, the two mirrored one another. At the end it was Bangladesh's fighting spirit and ability to manage pressure, which saw them tame Pakistan.

The encounter had an explosive start with Junaid demolishing the batting order. Bangladesh, after opting to bat, lost three wickets in consecutive overs as the reinforcements failed to stand up.

Soumya Sarkar, in for Nazmul Hossain Shanto, was undone by a zipper from Junaid. Mominul Haque had replaced an injured Shakib Al Hasan but Shaheen Shah Afridi cut short his stay to just four balls with a delivery bludgeoning the timber. Junaid had measured out Liton Das and bagged his wicket with a well-angled delivery in his second over.

But then dependable pair of Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur curtailed further damage. They saw off Shaheen and Junaid, scored off loose balls from Hasan Ali, and spinners Mohammad Nawaz, Shoaib Malik and Shadad Khan. Mushfiqur stood tall amid the ruins and with Mithun (60) raised a 144-run fourth wicket partnership. But Hasan finally broke the partnership with Mithun's scalp.

Mushfiqur, meanwhile, continued scoring boundaries in timely fashion. But on 99 runs, the keeper-batsman perished while trying to drive Shaheen. Mushfiqur slapped nine boundaries in his 116-ball scintillating knock.

However, the innings ended in a whimper with Bangladesh all out at 48.5 overs.

Junaid, who replaced Mohammad Amir, finished with four wickets for just 19 runs and his fiery spell gave Pakistan the momentum.

However, Pakistani openers failed to build a partnership. Fakhar Zaman, once again, fell cheaply. He was brilliantly caught by Rubel Hossain. Mustafizur then trapped Babar Azam and later induced an edge out of Sarfraz Ahmed to leave Pakistan tottering at 18 runs by the fourth over.

By now Mustafizur and Co had sucked the zip out of Pakistan.

Shoaib Malik, the man for all seasons, and Imam Ul Haq put their heads together. The duo rotated strikes at will and kept tab on the asking run rate. However, Mashrafe Mortaza pulled a ripper of a catch off Rubel to remove Shoaib and end the 67-run stand.

Soumya then picked Shadab to push Pakistan to 94 for five. Imam, meanwhile, steered his way to a half-century. He played the waiting game perfectly.

And Pakistan had some rub of the green too. In the 34th over, Asif Ali on 22 was dropped by Liton Das, who was keeping wickets for Mushfiqur. Liton made amends and affected a quick stumping to get rid of Asif and end a threatening 71-run partnership by 40 overs.

The asking run rate kept climbing. And in the next over, it was curtains as Imam charged down to Mahmudullah but got stumped. With 73 runs still required from 55 balls, it was a tall ask for the tail.

Mustafizur returned to claim Nawaz and Hasan as Pakistan got rolled up for 202 runs for nine wickets.

Once again a team batting first won in Abu Dhabi.

Bangladesh will once again play India in the final but this time in Dubai on Friday. They will, however, miss the services of Shakib, who is finally going to have a surgery done.

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