x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Big moment is Pakistan's as Bangladesh fall short in Asia Cup final

Pakistan held off Bangladesh by two runs to take their second Asia Cup cricket title and disappoint the home fans in Dhaka.

Bangladeshi batsman Shakib Al Hasan, left, plays a shot as the Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed looks on. Al Hasan and his teammates fell two runs short of Bangladesh's first Asia Cup title.
Bangladeshi batsman Shakib Al Hasan, left, plays a shot as the Pakistan wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed looks on. Al Hasan and his teammates fell two runs short of Bangladesh's first Asia Cup title.

DHAKA, Bangladesh //Pakistan won their second Asia Cup cricket title by holding off Bangladesh by two runs in the final on Thursday.

In a match which had fans riveted to the final ball, Pakistan tallied 236 for nine in their 50 overs, then stalled Bangladesh on 234 for eight in a raucous Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh needed nine to win in a dramatic final over, and then four from the last two balls.

But Abdur Razzak played a slower ball off the fast bowler Aizaz Cheema onto his stumps.

Shahadat Hossain, the new batsman, had to hit four runs off the last ball to give Bangladesh its maiden Asia Cup title, but he managed only a leg bye, causing the Pakistanis to jump around in joy.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, said: "Wonderful victory, well fought by all guys, the youngsters came in and contributed well. Sarfraz's innings was a vital one for us.

"This wicket was a little different from the other ones, it was slow. We were hoping that around 225-230 would be a fighting a score. The spinners bowled very well, the pacers did well in the end. Bangladesh played wonderfully well, this is really a new Bangladesh team and they are really the winners."

His opposite number, Mushfiqur Rahim, said: "Before the tournament, we had great preparation but the boys stuck to the plans. We played good in the tournament … and we achieved a lot."

Pakistan's only other triumph in the 28-year Asia Cup was in 2000, also on Bangladesh soil. While Cheema took three for 46, it was the Pakistan spinners, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi, who tied down Bangladesh's chase for victory.

Cheema made a telling double blow when he bowled Shakib Al Hasan for 68 (off 72 balls) and dismissed Rahim for 10 within two overs of each other.

Afridi, one for 28 off 10 overs, was named man of the match, while Hafeez conceded only 30 in his 10-over allotment and Ajmal took 2-40. Sarfraz Ahmed top-scored for Pakistan with 46 not out.

The opener Mohammad Hafeez made 40, Afridi 32, and Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam both hit 30.

Pakistan made a slow start and was 55 for three due to some tight bowling and fielding by Bangladesh, but a final over of 19 runs helped the team post a defendable total.

The sloppy final over came from Hossain, who conceded 63 from nine overs and failed to bowl a maiden or take a wicket. His spell was a gift for struggling Pakistan as it also included three no balls and two wides.

Razzak led the Bangladesh attack by taking two for 26 from 10 overs, including three maidens.