WC2019

WC19: Shaheen Afridi stars in Pakistan’s consolation win

Imam's hundred and Shaheen's 6 fer cleans up Bangladesh

With semi final hopes depending on an unrealistic margin victory, Pakistan settled on playing normal ODI cricket to beat a surprisingly subdued Bangladesh by 94 runs at Lords on a beautiful sunny day.

Batting 1st, Pakistan’s innings was largely based on a brilliant 157 run 2nd wicket stand between a solid Imam Ul Haq (100) and the majestic Babar Azam (96). Imam was all solidity and grace while Babar was all style and panache as they graced a fine setting at Lords with delightful strokeplay soothing to the eyes. Later Imad Wasim played a breezy knock of 43 off 26 balls to take Pakistan to 315 . For Bangladesh, Mustafizur took 5/75 and bowled well though being expensive in patches. Saifuddin took 3/77. Both spinners Mehedi and Shakib were more economical in comparision .

In reply Bangladesh were at the receiving end of a brilliant fiery bowling performance by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who was ignored by Pakistan in most of their early games. Shaheen bowled with pace and venom on an increasing slower pitch with deadly yorkers two of which accounted for opener Tamim Iqbal (8) and number 11 Mustafizur. He also bowled with flair and variety mixing slower balls with sharp yorkers and hostile lifting or angling deliveries. For Bangladesh only Shakib Al Hassan was the lone crusader scoring another fine 64 continuing his rich vein of form which saw him scoring 5 fifties and 2 hundreds to amass 606 runs besides taking 11 wickets in this World cup .  However the rest of the main batters could not built on their starts and Bangladesh were bowled out for 221 runs to lose by a big margin of 94 runs. Shaheen Afridi was the obvious choice of man of the match award for his 6/35.

Thus Bangladesh ended their World cup journey on a sour note after briefly showing some promise against other top teams like India and Australia and even beating West Indies in a 321 run chase.The batting showed lot of depth and flair but their bowling was the weak link.

For Pakistan ,it was a tournament of “what ifs” . Had they played better against West Indies in their opening game and managed to beat Australia from a strong position ,they would have been in the semis. Also they needed to play Shaheen and Haris Sohail right from the start, but instead relied more on out of form Hasan Ali and Shoaib Malik which proved extremely costly in the final analysis . With this win Pakistan ends at 5th spot in league table whereas New Zealand marched ahead to semis with a better net run rate.

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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