Pakistan 205 for 3 wickets (Fakhar 81, Shafiq 68, Mehdi 3-60) defeated bangladesh 204 (Mahmudullah 56, Litton 45, Shakib 43, Afridi 3-23, Wasim 3-31) by seven wickets
Pakistan produced their best performance in a World Cup to end their longest losing streak in a World Cup, defeating Bangladesh by seven wickets and keeping alive their faint hopes of semi-final qualification.
Right from the start, Afridi’s wicket in the first over and everything else, it looked like a classic performance from Pakistan. He reached 100 wickets by trapping Tanjeed Hasan on the fifth ball and took advantage of the moving ball to get his second wicket by getting Nazmul Hussain Shanto caught at square leg in his next over. Haris Rauf, after hitting three fours in his first over, counter-attacked by taking an edge from Mushfiqur Rahim, due to which he was out.
The turning point came when Liton fell with the softest of dismissals against a harmless delivery from Iftikhar Ahmed, a length bounce which the batsman lofted to short midwicket. Liton stood in despair at the crease for about half a minute, as if his body was not allowing him to walk.
Mustafizur was a particular favorite of Shafiq’s wrath, as Fakhar hit him for three consecutive fours before hitting another six off Mehdi in the 12th over. He completed his half-century in the fifth over of the innings, hitting the bowler hard on the head off Taskin, while Shafiq completed his half-century in the same over. Shafiq also played perhaps the best shot of the day, smashing a shot off Taskin at cow corner that flew all the way and at that point, Pakistan looked as if they were racing towards victory by ten wickets.
Mehdi did his part to ensure that the infamy was not as serious, and took three wickets (the only ones Pakistan lost) to stem the flow. Shafiq fell first, crossing the line, while Babar, who never really got going, was out to long on before reaching double figures. And while Fakhar had hit two sixes off Mehdi, he was still brave enough to keep bowling the ball, varying the pace and mistimed it to the midwicket boundary. Fakhar was out on 81, although he was looking close to a century.
It wouldn’t matter much in the end as a flurry of boundaries from Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar gave Pakistan victory with more than 17 overs to spare. This ended the gloom that had prevailed for the past fortnight and while Bangladesh is officially out, Pakistan has shown the first signs of waking up from its slumber.