WT20, Group A: B'ladesh v Pakistan

By Tristan Holme (South Africa)   Last updated: 1st May 2010  

Pak won by 21 runs They got a bit of a scare for a moment, but in the end the batsmen had put enough runs on the board to assure Pakistan of victory in their opening game. There will be less pressure on them tomorrow when they meet Australia because of this, but they'll know there are areas they can tighten up in. Certainly Australia's bowlers will be better than Bangladesh's, because that was probably the difference in this match - the Tigers just never strung together a couple of tight overs until it was far too late. All in all it's been a pretty ordinary day in the tournament, but we have two great games lined up for tomorrow so do join us then.

Over 20 Ajmal wd-1-0-W-0-0-1 151-7 - Afridi's made some interesting choices with his bowlers, and instead of using his remaining quick he opts for Ajmal. Of course the conventional thing would have been to save Aamer and Sami for the final two overs. Anyway, the game is safe and even a poor call from Ashoka da Silva won't change that. He calls wide after Naeem appears to glove one to Akmal down the leg side. Wicket! Mortaza is out stumped two deliveries later after coming down the track, and Suhrawadi Shuvo can only manage a single from the final delivery.

Over 19 Sami 3-1-W-1-1-1 148-6 - Wicket! Mushfiqur Rahim squeezes Sami's first ball to fine leg where Hafeez's excellent dives saves a run, but then the wicketkeeper-batsman is beaten by the short ball as his pull loops up to midwicket for Ajmal to catch. That brings Mortaza to the crease, but while he can hit a cricket ball a long way he can't get under a superb yorker from Sami. One over to go, which will probably be bowled by Razzaq, and Bangladesh need a highly improbable 25.

Over 18 Aamer 4-0-0-1-W-1 141-5 - Afridi intially threw the ball to Ajmal, but then decided to give it to Aamer instead, no doubt figuring that a good over from his best pacer would seal the deal. Naeem Islam drills the first ball over the offside field for four after coming down the track, but then gets overexcited and misses with a couple of huge swings. Wicket! Game over, as Ashraful walks to the off side and tries to lift the ball over short fine leg. It hasn't worked for him once this innings out of three or four attempts, and his fortunes don't improve as he gloves one through to Akmal. It ends a fine innings that kept Bangladesh in the game for some time.

Over 17 Afridi 6-2-2-0-1-1 135-4 - Ashraful is not going to die wondering, and as Afridi tosses one up he drives straight back over the bowler's head for six. A couple more come through midwicket, and then he capitalises on an overthrow to grab another two. He's got his highest score in T20 internationals, but it's asking a lot for him to pull this off on his own. Bangladesh need another 38 runs from 18 balls.

Over 16 Sami 2-W-1-0-0-W 123-4 - Wicket! Just what Pakistan needed, and that should kill off the game. Although Ashraful is still in, Shakib has holed out at long-off after taking on Sami. Mahmudullah joins Ashraful with no time to get himself in - 10 an over is needed. However his first contribution is an inside edge that's dropped by Akmal. It wasn't the easiest chance, but a better keeper would have got two hands to it. Wicket! It doesn't prove costly though, because Mahmudullah throws his bat at a wide ball and slices it straight to backward point. The decision to bring back Sami has sealed the match for Pakistan.

Over 15 Afridi 1-0-2-2-1-0 120-2 - No big shots, but some well-run twos keep things ticking over. They also put pressure on the fielders and it shows as a couple of poor pick-ups suggest they're feeling it. Just six from a wily Afridi over keeps Pakistan out front, with Bangladesh now needing 53 to win from 30 balls.

Over 14 Ajmal 2-1-6-1-1-6 114-2 - Ashraful chips back over Ajmal's head for a couple to bring up his half-century (38 balls, 4x4s, 2x6s). He's got better and better throughout as he's realised that he's got greater reward for more conventional shots. Shakib takes on long-on and only just wins, as a flat shot clears the fielder on the rope by about a foot. Then he slog sweeps the final ball over midwicket for six to make it 17 from the over! Hello! The partnership is now 84 off 53 deliveries and we have a game on our hands. The body language in the Pakistani dugout is not so positive any more.

Over 13 Afridi 6-2-0-0-4-1 97-2 - That's a lovely shot from Ashraful, who drives with the spin over long-off for six. Superbly timed, mostly because he didn't try to hit the cover off of it. He drives two more to wide long-off, then uses a bit of bottom hand to get another one over extra cover for four. This isn't over just yet, but Pakistan will fancy that one wicket is all they need to kill this little uprising.

Over 12 Ajmal 1-1-0-4-2-2 84-2 - Shakib picks the full one, and drills it straight back down the ground hard enough for long-on to not get around to it. A couple of top-edged sweeps brings twos, and 10 from the over just about keeps the Tigers in the game. They need these two to stick around until the end though.

Over 11 Afridi 4-0-1-0-1-0 74-2 - Afridi brings himself on, but starts with a looped half-volley which Ashraful waits for and then whacks it over extra cover for four. There are just a couple of singles from the rest of the over though, so the required run rate is back above 10. In fact, it's up to 11.

Over 10 Ajmal 1-0-0-4-0-0 68-2 - Saeed Ajmal joins the attack, but after a decent start he throws it away with a horrible leg-side delivery that Shakib gets a gentle touch on to help it down to very fine leg for four. That's the bowler's only indiscretion though, so the pressure is still on Bangladesh.

Over 9 Razzaq 6-0-2nb-1-2-1-4 63-2 - Aaah there we go. Ashraful gets one in the slot and puts it away over wide midwicket. As Ian Chappell points out, he's got a good result because he's played a decent cricket shot, whereas much of his batting so far has seen him attempt to premeditate a shot only to get everything horribly wrong. A failed attempt at a lift over short fine leg adds further evidence to the theory, as does a nice loft over extra cover that brings a couple. It's the story of Ashraful's career so far though - great talent but not enough upstairs to use it. Shakib makes it a good over for his side by picking the final ball up and lifting it over mid-on for four.

Over 8 Hafeez 0-1-0-2-0-1 47-2 - Hafeez continues, and Ashraful gets away with a dodgy reverse sweep that take a top edge and loops just beyond short third man as he runs back. A couple of runs result, but it's another cheap over. Bangladesh now need another 126 runs from 12 overs at 10.50 per over.

Over 7 Razzaq 1-1-0-1lb-4-0 43-2 - Abdur Razzaq bustles in, and if he'd had a slip then Ashraful would have edged straight into the man's chest. Instead the ball beats Akmal and runs away for four, but Bangladesh still manage just seven from the over.

Over 6 Hafeez 0-wd-1-W-0-2-3 36-2 - Wicket! Much like India, Pakistan have plenty of batsmen who can bowl some handy spin and Mohammad Hafeez is one of them. He's asked to show his offspin abilities in the final powerplay over and gets his fourth delivery to hold up a touch, with the result that Iqbal bunts a tame catch back to the bowler. Very soft dismissal, and it brings Shakib to the middle. He walks across his stumps to lift one down to fine leg for a couple, then repeats the shot and gets it fine enough to earn three.

Over 5 Aamer 1-1-0-1-4-0 29-1 - Iqbal gives Bangladeshi fans something to shout about as he drives Aamer's overpitched delivery nicely down the ground for four. There are plenty of yorkers in the rest of the over though, as Aamer displays some good consistency. Already the required run rate is pushing 10 per over.

Over 4 Sami 1-4-0-wd-0-1-2 22-1 - Sami strays slightly wide, and Ashraful slaps him through point for four. Iqbal throws his bat at the final ball and gets a top edge over the keeper's head for four. As emailer Danish says, this is job done for Pakistan although they won't take their eye off the ball just yet. Australia will be watching this and figuring they have their work cut out for them tomorrow, although it will be interesting to see if Pakistan - who are world cricket's mavericks - can produce two strong performances in successive days.

Over 3 Aamer 0-1-0-0-0-1 13-1 - Aamer's third delivery is one hell of a yorker - speared into the batsmen's legs with such ferocity and precision that it literally takes Iqbal's feet out from under him. The bowler's consistency is equally impressive, and all Iqbal can do is scurry down the other end with a quick single to cover off the final ball.

Over 2 Sami 0-4-1-0-1-4 11-1 - Iqbal plays the slapped drive as well as anyone, and he uses it to send Mohammad Sami's second delivery past mid-off for four. Mohammad Ashraful has joined him at the crease, and he plays a great pick-up shot but only gets one as square leg runs around to field. Iqbal ends the over with a lovely pull off his hips, which he directs into a gap behind square for another boundary.

Over 1 Aamer 0-0-0-1-0-W 1-1 - Wicket! Mohammad Aamer has been one of the best up-and-coming players over the past year, and he doesn't take any time to nestle into this tournament. He ties down Tamim Iqbal for four balls, then beats Imrul Kayes with a beauty outside off stump before finishing the over with a wicket. Imrul takes on the short ball but top edges towards third man, and Misbah trots in to pouch the catch.

Pakistan 172/3 That's a very good score on this pitch, so that is surely too much for Bangladesh. They'll know they bowled poorly and essentially gave Pakistan some great batting practice, though credit must also go to the batsmen who never let any of the bowlers settle.

Over 20 Razzak 0-2-1-2-1-2 172-3 - Bangladesh's two seamers are bowled out so Abdur Razzak has to bowl the final over, and he does a pretty good job. Razzaq mishits over backward point for a couple and Misbah whacks down the ground for a couple of his own. Razzaq hits a full toss wide of long-off and runs hard for two to finish the innings. So there was a boundary in every one of the first 15 overs, and then not one in the last five.

Over 19 Shafiul 2-W-1-1-2-2 164-3 - Wicket! It's all falling apart a bit for Pakistan, but they already have enough runs on the board to feel safe. Butt attempts to reverse sweep a straight one and has his off stump knocked back by Shafiul. That shot seemed a bit unnecessary when he's managed a healthy strike rate by playing percentage shots up to that point. Anyway, there are 10 balls for Abdul Razzaq and Misbah-ul-Haq to get as many as possible, and some good running grabs them six runs from four balls.

Over 18 Shakib 2-1-2-1-1-W 156-2 - The running has been much better since Afridi came in, with him and Butt pushing every two they possibly can. Wicket! Another awful piece of cricket results in Afridi's downfall. The final ball of Shakib's spell is a horrible wide full toss, and Afridi threw his bat at it without moving his feet and got a top edge to Mahmudullah at short third man.

Over 17 Shafiul 1-1-0-0-2-2 149-1 - Afridi's bat now sports a sticker on the top of the face that says 'Boom boom'. Not sure whether that's just for him, or if he's launched his own range of bats. Either way it's not really doing the trick for him, though that's because he's trying to hit the ball too hard. Not a new problem for Afridi - when he's on form the ball tends to go miles, but when he's not it results in mishits, which is what happens here.

Over 16 Shakib 1-1-1-1-W-1 143-1 - Shakib returns and gets away with an awful full toss on Butt's legs, which the left-hander hits straight to square leg on the bounce. Wicket! Finally Akmal goes, and it's not the best piece of cricket. He came down the track to Shakib and got the ball on the full, but sliced the full toss straight to Razzak at backward point. Not surprisingly it's Shahid Afridi who comes in at number three, but it is a surprise that he doesn't have an enormous heave at his first ball. Instead he turns one out to deep midwicket, so that's the first over that hasn't contained a boundary. For the record, that was the third-highest opening partnership in Twenty20 internationals.

Over 15 Mortaza 1-6-1-1-1-4 138-0 - Wham! He's timed that! Akmal gets his front leg out of the way and slams Mortaza over mid-off for six, and that was a flat one straight out of the middle of the bat. This is not the return that Mortaza would have hoped for, though in truth he hasn't bowled that badly aside from his first over. His final delivery is a good example of how well these two have batted, as Butt walks across his stumps to turn a full ball on middle stump past short fine leg for four.

Over 14 Razzak 1-4-1-1-1-4 124-0 - Butt gives himself room to thrash a half-volley over extra cover for four more. Down on the sidelines Pakistan coach Waqar Younis says they went out looking for around 150 or 160, but of course with this platform they're after a few more than that now. The key has been that there's been at least a boundary every over, whether it be putting away the bad ball or manufacturing a shot. Akmal grabs a second one in this over by lifting a short ball over backward square leg.

Over 13 Shakib 0-1-1-1-4-1 112-0 - Akmal throws everything into a drive over extra cover, but still fals a couple of inches short of his first maximum. He's played somewhat agriculturally at times in this innings, only to be outpaced by Butt who has been his usual graceful self.

Over 12 Shuvo 0-1-6-1-0-4 104-0 - Suhrawadi Shuvo joins the attack, but bowls a rank long-hop to Butt and is dispatched over wide long-on for six. Got what it deserved, and that takes Butt to 49. A single takes him to his half-century (29 balls, 6x4s, 2x6s), and Akmal joins him two balls later (43 balls, 6x4s) as he trots down the pitch to smash back over the bowler's head for four. They haver eight overs to go absolutely crackers now.

Over 11 Razzak 6-1-1-1-2-1 92-0 - Butt registers the first six of the match with a flat hit over midwicket. Akmal picks his spot with a short ball later in the over to pick up two through point, and four singles make it 12 from the over. Bangladesh haven't found anyone who can build pressure through dot balls with the runs flowing freely. Meanwhile there's a good party going down in the stands - the sort of Caribbean flavour that was sorely missed during the World Cup in '07.

Over 10 Shakib 4-2-0-1-1-1 80-0 - Even Shakib is getting clubbed now, with Butt doing brilliantly to split two fielders in the deep on the leg side as he gets four off the first ball. I suspect Shahid Afridi will be padded up in the dugout now because with wickets in hand he could come in at first drop with a serious licence to swing the bat.

Over 9 Naeem 4-2-2-1-1-0 71-0 - Akmal is in the mood now, and he's having a go at everything. He clears his front leg to drive forcefully through extra cover for four - an excellent T20 shot - and then slogs two over midwicket and a couple more over extra cover. At this rate Pakistan could end up with 170, and already my early talk of an upset looks to have been blown out of the water.

Over 8 Shakib 0-1-1-0-0-4 61-0 - Here's Bangladesh's best bowler - their captain Shakib Al Hasan. He nearly bowls the first over without a boundary, but Butt makes sure things continue to tick over for Pakistan by coming down the track to hit the final ball just over the bowler's head for four.

Over 7 Naeem 0-1-1-1-4-1 55-0 - The fielding restrictions have passed, so we can expect plenty of spin now. Naeem Islam is the first of them, but like all the bowlers so far he serves up a boundary ball that ensures there's never any pressure on the batsmen. Butt is able to sweep away past short fine leg for four.

Over 6 Shafiul 0-0-0-0-4-1 47-0 - The most impressive thing about Shafiul is the way he mixes his pace up, and Akmal is unable to predict the speed of the first four deliveries which are all on the money. The fifth ball is a low full toss though, and he laces it through the covers for four. The final delivery catches him on the back pad, but Rod Tucker turns down the appeals because the ball was sliding down leg side.

Over 5 Mortaza 2-1-0-4-0-0 42-0 - Mortaza rolls straight into his third over, and both batsmen enjoy a slice of luck with inside edges back past their stumps. Butt makes the most of his let-off, coming down the pitch next ball to stroke Mortaza over mid-off for four. He really is a lovely player to watch when he's in form.

Over 4 Shafiul 1-0-1-0-4-1 35-0 - The spin experiment didn't work out, so Shafiul Islam gets a chance to impress. He starts with some good variation in pace, but then drops a slower ball short and allows Akmal to pull away for four. With fine leg up in the circle, that's always going for runs. These easy pickings are making the batsmen's jobs quite simple, and so it's no surprise that emailer Danish Ali is backing Pakistan to win by 70 or 80 runs. At this rate that looks quite feasible.

Over 3 Mortaza 0-1-1-2-1-4 28-0 - That's more like it from Mortaza, who hits the perfect length outside Akmal's off stump and beats an ambitious swish of the bat. He then gets the better of Akmal as the batsman pulls one that wasn't quite short enough, but the ball spoons over mid-on and is dropped by Mohammad Ashraful as he runs back and gets himself in a tangle. Butt thenres another lucrative over by coming down the track to square-drive through point for four - the shot of the match so far.

Over 2 Razzak 0-4-4-0-0-1 19-0 - Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan throws the ball to left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak reaches for his second delivery and gets on top of a strong sweep that runs away to the backward square leg boundary. Those runs were more a result of good batting, but he's then thrown an easy four runs by Razzak - wide outside leg and easily helped past short fine leg.

Over 1 Mortaza 0-2-1-4-1-wd-1lb 10-0 - Akmal gets Pakistan up and running with a late cut that's square enough to squeeze in a second as third man runs around to his right. He works a single to hand Butt the strike, and the left-hander needs no invitation to lash a wide half-volley over extra cover for four, even if it is his first delivery. That ensures a solid start for Pakistan with Mortaza failing to find his line and length.

All set "Pakistan Zindabad!" is screamed from one side of the ground as Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt walk out to open the batting. Mortaza will take the first over.

Anthem time We'll be underway in just three or four minutes, but remember you can share your thoughts on the match by emailing them to me at tristan.holme@teamtalkmedia.co.za. Anyone else fancy this to be the best chance of an upset, or will Pakistan cruise it?

Teams So all the talk since the first warm-up matches this week has centred around the importance of spinners, but here the focus is seamers: Bangladesh will be chuffed to have the burly Mashrafe Mortaza back after almost a year out, while Pakistan have decided to leave out Mohammad Asif. Of course they're already missing Umar Gul in this tournament, but they've decided to include an extra bits-and-pieces player at Asif's expense for this match. They now bat down to Abdul Razzaq at eight, while Mohammad Aamer at nine can also swing a bat.

Pakistan Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal¿, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi*, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Misbah-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Sami, Saeed Ajmal.

Bangladesh Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan*, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim¿, Naeem Islam, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Shafiul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak.

Toss Pakistan have won the toss and elected to bat first.

Greetings Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the World Twenty20 Group A match between Bangladesh and Pakistan in St Lucia. We've just seen India cruise to a straightforward win over Afghanistan so no shocks there, but I reckon if there's going to be an upset this weekend then this will be it. Pakistan have had a wretched year both on and off the field and go into this match after a period of inactivity. That said, they are reigning champions so naturally are heavy favourites.

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