x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Misbah warns his batsmen to get support act together

Pakistan sweat it out in a 21-run victory over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup opening game.

Mohammad Hafeez missed out on his century by 11 runs but also took two wickets to keep Pakistan in the game.
Mohammad Hafeez missed out on his century by 11 runs but also took two wickets to keep Pakistan in the game.

Misbah-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, was not impressed after Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Gul put in all-round performances to ensure an exciting 21-run victory over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup tournament's opening game at Dhaka.

Opener Hafeez top-scored with a solid 89 and then grabbed two wickets, while Gul made a crucial 39 and took three wickets before Pakistan bowled Bangladesh out for 241.

The hosts, least fancied of the four teams in the fray, looked like overhauling the target of 263 at one stage before Shakib Al Hasan was the last man out for a 66-ball 64.

Pakistan were cruising at 160 for one following a 135-run stand for the opening wicket between Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed (54) when they lost six wickets for 38 runs.

That prompted Misbah to sound a warning note for the batsmen. "We should have got 300 runs," he said. "We just have to lift our performance. We need to be more positive and we can't just repeat these mistakes. The bowlers are winning games for us for the last year and a half, but we need to support them."

Barring Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh top order struggled at the start of their reply and were struggling at 135 for five, but Shakib and Nasir Hossain (47) gave some anxious moments to Pakistan with an 89-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Iqbal, initially dropped from the squad by the country's cricket chief before being added as a 15th member, scored 64 with the help of one six and six fours.

But Hafeez bowled well-set Tamim and trapped Mohammad Mahmudullah leg-before with his next delivery. Gul provided the breakthoughs at the end with the wickets of Nasir and Shakib to complete Pakistan's victory.

"We just couldn't finish well. We are not winning most of the times after getting into such situations," said Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim.

"We were really close. Pakistan got a solid start, but our bowlers came back really well taking some important wickets. Our batsmen were also chasing quite nicely, but Nasir's wicket was the turning point of the match."

Earlier, paceman Shahadat Hossain (3-53) and left-arm spinner Shakib (2-41) did the damage, but Gul added 53 vital runs for the eighth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (19 not out).

Jamshed, who played his last one-dayer in August 2009, hit one six and five fours in his 64-ball knock before he was run out soon after completing his fifth half-century.

Shahadat then dismissed Younis Khan (12), Hafeez and Asad Shafiq (four) in successive overs. Hafeez looked set to reach his fourth one-day hundred before he was caught by Shafiul Islam at square-leg while attempting to pull Shahadat. He hit seven fours in his 126-ball knock.

Shakib removed Umar Akmal (21) and then held a return catch in the same over to account for Shahid Afridi after fumbling twice before finally holding the ball as it ricocheted off non-striker Misbah.

Afridi, who was just one short of 7,000 one-day runs, failed to open his account.

* Agence France-Presse