Shoaib Malik proves his worth as Pakistan end six-match losing streak in first T20 against Bangladesh
Hosts made to fight for five-wicket win in Lahore as Malik hits unbeaten 58
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik showed there was still enough gas left in the tank as he steered Pakistan to a tense five-wicket win in the first T20 against Bangladesh in Lahore on Friday.
Bangladesh posted a below par score of 141-5 and even though the hosts lost star batsman and captain Babar Azam in just the second ball of the chase, the total seemed always within grasp.
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Even so, Pakistan needed the experienced shoulders of Malik to take the team past the finish line. He scored an unbeaten 58 from 45 balls to help the hosts reach the target with three balls to spare.
The match seemed to be in Pakistan's bag when debutant Ahsan Ali (36) and Malik took the team closer the 100-run mark. But the dismissal of Ali saw a mini collapse as Pakistan went from 81-2 to 133-5.
In between all the chaos, Malik used his two decades of experience on the international stage to steer the run chase which only needed scoring at run a ball.
However, even the winning shot from Pakistan was far from convincing. Mohammad Rizwan was batting with two needed from four balls. He slog swept Soumya Sarkar to mid wicket where the fielder Mohammad Mithun dropped a simple chance to hand the game to Pakistan.
The No1 T20 team thus tasted their first victory in the 20-over format after six defeats and a no result.
Earlier, Bangladesh batsmen struggled with the sluggish nature of the pitch. Openers Tamim Iqbal (39 from 34 balls) and Mohammad Naim (43 from 41) added 71 but took too many balls. They didn't stay until the end, which meant Bangladesh had to settle for a below par total.
Malik, who was named man of the match, said the nature of the pitch made it a tough chase.
"The ball was coming well with the new ball, but it wasn't easy later on. Overall, it was a good performance. When the pitch is tough or when you're chasing, you need to give yourself a chance, take the game deep," Malik said.
Updated: January 24, 2020 04:59 PM