Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bangladesh Could not win Asia cup

A never-say-die Bangladesh lost agonisingly by two runs in a nail-biting thriller to hand Pakistan their second Asia Cup on Thursday. Pakistan survived a few tense moments but held their nerve as the Tigers, chasing 237, brought the target down to nine runs off the final over but could only manage six. 

They were only one big hit away but there were depths of despair for the home side as they failed to hit a single boundary in the last two overs. 

The hosts gave Pakistanis a run for their money as Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (13) reignited hopes for Bangladesh with three fours in the 47th over. 

Mahmudullah (17) and Abdur Razzak (6) then tried to take their side to the target. 

Razzak tried a pre-meditated carve over short fine leg off Aizaz Cheema but ended up playing it onto the stumps. 

Bangladesh could only manage one run off the last ball when they needed 4 for a win. Shahadat Hossain, who leaked 19 runs in the final over of Pakistan innings, could only dig a yorker out for a single. 

Many Bangladeshi players, including their captain Mushfiqur Rahim, were in tears having seen their dream shattered so cruelly, as the innings stopped at 234 for 8. 

But the Tigers have reasons to hold their head high, having beaten last 2011 World Cup India and Sri Lanka and twice threatening to get better of Pakistan in close finish. 

At the presentation ceremony, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said, "This is really a new Bangladesh team and they are really the winners." 

It was Pakistan spinners who dried up runs with the second 50 of the innings coming off 99 balls and Bangladesh lost momentum from the bowling powerplay. They faced a daunting asking-rate at the halfway mark of their chase.

Cheema dealt a big blow to Bangladesh's hopes removing Man-of-the-Series Shakib Al Hasan (68) and Mushfiqur 10) in fairly quick succession and gave his team the edge towards the end. 

A struggling Nasir Hossain (28 off 63 balls) went before him after a good partnership. He tried to pull Umar Gul but got a top-edge and captain Misbah-ul-Haq took a simple catch at midwicket. 

Bangladesh however found their heroes in Mahmudullah and Mashrafe as they went on the attack to close in on the target. The 46th over which was bowled by Umar Gul went for 14 runs to take the equation to 25 off the last 3 overs. 

Bangladesh lost Mortaza in the next over. Mahmudullah and Abdur Razzaq brought the runs needed down to 9 off the last 6 balls. 

The hosts had lost the big wicket of Tamim Iqbal (58), who made his fourth back-to-back half century, and was looking set for a big score. His partner Nazimuddin used up 52 balls for his 16 before throwing the wicket away. 

The Tigers earlier restricted Pakistan to 236 for 9 in 50 overs in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. 

Bangladesh struck regular blows at the top but Pakistan's lower order made some useful contributions with Sarfraz Ahmed top-scoring with an unbeaten 46. 

Shahadat bled 19 runs in the last over, 1 more than the 18 extras in the innings, when the hosts looked like they would restrict Pakistan to a score much lower than 236. 

Man-of-the-Match Shahid Afridi was in his elements with a breezy knock of 32 from 22 balls until Nasir Hossain took a fantastic diving catch to remove the dangerman. 

Bangladesh dealt a double blow before the 35th over to prevent Pakistan from breaking free after they removed Jamshed, Younis and Misbah very quickly. 

Hammad Azam and Umar Akmal, both scoring 30, steadied the ship with a 59-run partnership but their dismissals just before the batting Powerplay rocked Pakistan. 

Akmal was unfortunate to be given out, trying to work a Mahmudullah delivery behind square. Replays suggested it may have flicked the trouser on the way to wicket-keeper Mushfiqur. 

Mohammad Hafeez (38), who was living dangerously having survived a very close lbw call and a catch, was finally out in the 22nd over. Tied down, he struck a flighted ball from Razzak straight to Nazmul Hossain who took a sharp catch at mid-on. 

Pakistan lost Misbah (13) in the 15th over. Nasir ran in from point and hit the stumps at the non-striker's end to catch the opposition captain well short. 

Mashrafe had struck early to remove Nasir Jamshed (9), who tried to hit a slower one over the in-field on the off side but ended up hitting it straight to Mahmudullah at cover. 

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