ICC World T20 Results: Shehzad Century Helps Pakistan Ease Past Bangladesh and Send Australia Crashing Out of the Tournament
By Deepak Vikraman | March 30, 2014 11:51 PM EST
Pakistan now know what is required to make the semifinals, and so do all the other teams in Group 2 of the ICC World T20 2014.
With Pakistan cruising to the easiest of victories against we-really-need-a-break-from-cricket Bangladesh in Mirpur, the scenario in Group 2 is simple - India have already made the semifinals, and the winner between the match between Pakistan and West Indies will join them, with Australia's tournament ending, barring a couple of academic games, after just two matches.
Knowing a victory over Bangladesh would knock out Australia, the favourites going into the tournament, Pakistan were ruthless and unrelenting, smashing the Bangladesh bowlers all over the park, courtesy a swashbuckling hundred from Ahmed Shehzad (111, 62b, 10x4, 5x6), to take 190 at the loss of five wickets from their 20 overs, with the bowlers then doing their job as expected, restricting Bangladesh to 140 for seven for a huge 50-run victory.
Australia's two painful losses have come back to haunt them, and then some, with their late game against India on Sunday now basically a dead rubber, with the latter playing to finish top of the group, while the former will look to win back some pride.
The moment Shehzad started tonking the Bangladesh bowlers at will from the off, there was the air of inevitability about the game -a huge score, daunting chase for Bangladesh, with the hosts yet again falling well short.
Kamran Akmal this time though did not stick around for long, falling to the returning Abdur Razzak, the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-20-2, with Ziaur Rahman taking a smart catch.
Skipper Mohammed Hafeez also did not get going, becoming Razzak's second victim, with Umar Akmal, the hero from their previous game against Australia, when he made a stunning 94, walking back to the pavilion after facing just two deliveries.
Now, with Pakistan on a dodgy 71 for three in 9.2 overs, was the time for the Bangladesh bowlers to firm-up the choke hold and put their opponents under some serious duress, but instead it was Shehzad who strangled the home side with some terrific hitting.
No bowler was spared by the right-hander as Shehzad just kept smashing the ball to the boundary line, or over it, at will, with Shoaib Malik (26, 23b, 2x4), first, and then Shahid Afridi (22, 9b, 1x4, 2x6) giving him good company as Pakistan romped to 190.
The reply was tame and weak, with Tamim Iqbal yet again failing to impress, when after a couple of overs of the game, it looked like we might finally see the left-hander's talents come to the fore.
However, after facing 15 deliveries for his 16, Tamim played a poor shot off Umar Gul (three for 30) and duly played-on, with the wheels of the Bangladesh innings coming off quicker than you could say World T20.
Anamul Haque (18, 16b, 3x4), one of the few positives for Bangladesh in a miserable few months, could not take advantage of his start either, and fell to the guiles of Saeed Ajmal, before Shamsur Rahman and captain Mushfiqur Rahim fell in quick succession to put Bangladesh in familiar trouble -- this time at 47 for four in 9.1 overs.
Shakib Al Hasan (38, 32b, 2x4, 2x6), with some help from Nassir Hossain (23), Mahmudullah (17) and Mashrafe Mortaza (17), at least went down fighting, spanking a few sixes and fours to take Bangladesh to at least a respectable score.
But even that was scant consolation as the home side once again disappointed their fans, who, even with the match long gone, kept cheering every boundary with great aplomb, with Pakistan now one win away from maintaining their remarkable record of making the semifinals at every World T20.
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