Another one-sided affair. Another hopeless capitulation of the Bengal Tigers. Shaheen Afridi enhanced his reputation at the World Cups for one more time. The Kolkata evening turned gloomy for the Bangladeshi fans who crossed the border to watch their team putting another disaster class in front of the packed order. Pakistani fans finally found something to cheer about after a prolonged period of agony. Pakistan vs Bangladesh may seem like a tense affair on paper, but Pakistan stamped their authority over the game right from the start.
Pakistan made three changes to their playing XI that succumbed to a narrow defeat against South Africa in the last match. The concussion substitute in that match Usama Mir came into the starting team with Shadab Khan missing out. Mohammad Nawaz was axed from the team in favour of Salman Ali Agha. Imam-Ul-Haq lost his place at the top order, and Pakistan called in Fakhar Zaman as his replacement.
Bangladesh just made a solitary change to their team that was humbled by an energetic Dutch side. Young batsman Towhid Hridoy was given another chance to prove his worth in the place of outgoing all-rounder Mahedi Hasan. The boys from across the border needed some sort of inspiration to revive their disastrous campaign.
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam (Cap.) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5. Saud Shakeel 6. Iftikhar Ahmed 7. Salman Ali Agha 8. Shaheen Afridi 9. Usama Mir 10. Mohammad Wasim Jr. 11. Haris Rauf
- Tanzid Hasan Tamim 2. Liton Das 3. Najmul Hossain Shanto 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (WK) 5. Mahmudullah 6. Shakib Al Hasan (Cap.) 7. Towhid Hridoy 8. Mehidy Hasan 9. Taskin Ahmed 10. Mustafizur Rahman 11. Shoriful Islam
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan won the coin toss and elected to bat first. The pitch in Eden Gardens is crafted from black cotton soil which favours the spinners late on. Initially, it is a good surface to bat on. Out of the 32 encounters, 18 teams won the match by batting first, on occasions the team fielding first was able to vanquish their opponents. The ideal first innings score might be around the 250 mark to put the chasing team under pressure. Dew might also come into play under the floodlights.
|Venue||The 31st game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the iconic Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata, West Bengal|
|Date||The game started from 02:00 pm IST on Tuesday, October 31|
Captaincy & Tactics
Pakistan started off their bowling with typical fashion: Afridi getting a wicket in his first over. He also got another in his next over. The right-arm fast bowler did get some swing but his immaculate length was the main catalyst of the early Bangladesh collapse. Haris Rauf joined in with the dismissal of Mushfiqur after getting slapped for three boundaries.
Babar showed courage by giving the ball to a spinner. Iftikhar might not be the biggest turner of the cricket ball, but his lengths made it difficult to play shots for the batsmen. Mahmudullah looked good as usual and played the ball on the front foot to launch a counterattack. Usama Mir was on the receiving end of a severe beating, it did not help that he missed his length by a considerable margin.
Babar Azam showed proactiveness in this game. His willingness to make his mark on the game made a huge difference. He brought Haris Rauf into the attack who removed the dangerous Shakib in his first over. Shaheen Afridi castled Mahmudullah with a great reverse-swinging delivery. The hint of reverse in the last 15 overs took the game away for Bangladesh who lost their last three wickets for just 4 runs.
Pakistan came out with only one plan on their mind: playing aggressively. After the first three overs that were rather quiet, they started hitting the ball with disdain. Fakhar Zaman was at his vintage best, the 99-metre six off Taskin was the highlight of his innings. Abdullah Shafique started slowly, but he later joined in to match Fakhar’s aggression. The pair’s entertaining batting made the chase a cakewalk for Pakistan.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz was the only Bangladeshi bowler who got wickets, he got each of the three batsmen that went back to the pavilion. He varied his pace to create problems for the batters. But in the end, this was not enough with Rizwan and Iftikhar scoring a flurry of boundaries to take Pakistan home, more than 100 balls still remaining.
Mahmudullah has been the best batsman for Bangladesh at the World Cup. He proved once again why he was included albeit lately in the team. Liton Das also showed excellent timing for getting out in a cheap manner – a habit he has formed over the years.
Shakib Al Hasan has not reached his typical world-class in this tournament. He started off patiently, then shifted gears to score some quick runs. He looked destined for a big score before falling to a top edge off Afridi. It was a dismal display with the bat by the Bangladeshi players.
Abdullah Shafique belongs to the category of classic Pakistani openers who look good to the eye. The 24-year-old is enjoying his batting of late, especially at this World Cup. He averages 45.55 in this year, striking at an impressive 90.10 per 100 balls. His flick shots on the leg side were a joy to watch.
Fakhar Zaman was on the other side of the spectrum, having a completely different fortune from his partner. The powerful left-hander lost his place in the team after the two matches. But he has managed to send a statement to the think tank with a characteristic innings of destruction.
There were a lot of slog shots over midwicket and cow corner in his innings. Fakhar hit 3 sixes in that region. Despite all the fireworks, Fakhar exerted control throughout with middling 86% of his strokes. He played 39 dot deliveries in his innings. Babar Azam’s lacklustre form continued with another single-digit score. Rizwan and Iftikhar formed a 35-run stand to steer their country towards the finishing line.
Shaheen Afridi is now the fastest among the fast bowlers to reach the 100-wicket mark. It just took 51 innings for him to reach the milestone. Shaheen also got 30 wickets at the World Cup. All of these impressive records were set at just 23. The future looks bright, and so does the present.
Mohammad Wasim Jr. bowled with accuracy and intent. He was willing to pitch it short to test the mettle of the batsmen against bouncers. Wasim castled the last three batsmen to pack up the Bangladeshi score quickly. The 22-year-old pace bowler from Waziristan has not got 14 wickets from 10 games at an average of 27.07.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz is a jack of all trades: he can bat anywhere in the order, bowl with the new ball and a livewire on the field. Mehidy scored a decent 25-run innings to build a good partnership with Shakib. He came back to bowl with trickery and guile. Mehidy enjoys his bowling against Pakistan. He has got 7 wickets from 4 matches against the Pakistanis, striking in every 33 balls.
The rest of the Bangladesh attack was toothless. Taskin Ahmed could not bring his pre-World Cup form to the tournament. Mustafizur Rahman was wayward with his length. Shoriful bowled on the wrong line. Shakib looked ordinary. The bowling performances by the Tigers have been a major concern for the team. It would be interesting to see what type of adjustments might be made after this tournament to revive the bowling attack.
Usama Mir did not have a good tournament with the ball. He was also culpable of shelling out an easy catch of David Warner in the game against Australia. Warner ended up getting a century to heap misery on the young man. But he finally produced a moment of magic while fielding at midwicket. The low diving catch to dismiss Shanto was a moment to savour for the young man. Shaheen was finally rewarded for his magical display of swing bowling.
Iftikhar Ahmed took a sharp catch at first slip to dismiss Towhid Hridoy. Mohammad Rizwan took a fine catch to dismiss Mushfiqur during the early exchanges. It was a surprisingly solid day on the field for Pakistan. Bangladesh took their catches and fielded well across the ground. But the target was not big enough to challenge the Pakistan batting who reached there safely without hitting any major roadblock.
Mahmudulallah showed his batting prowess again with a mature innings of 56 off 70 balls. He is the only Bangladeshi to reach three figures for Bangladesh so far. Liton Das looked comfortable out in the middle, but he got out in a cheap manner after scoring 45. Shakib Al Hasan accumulated 43 runs which was prematurely ended by a miscued pull shot. Shaheen Shah Afridi was impressive once again, taking 3 wickets for just 23 runs. Mohammad Wasim Jr. also claimed three scalps. Haris bowled rapidly and claimed two wickets. Usama Mir was expensive with 66 runs conceded from 10 overs.
Fakhar Zaman was at his scintillating best to mark his return to himself. Fakhar hit 7 sixes on that day, 81 runs coming from the southpaw opener’s bat. Abduallah Shafique was an ideal partner for him, scoring 68 off 69 deliveries. Mehidy Hasan had an impressive outing by picking up all three wickets in the Pakistani innings. Shakib Al Hasan flopped once again with the ball, giving away 30 runs with no wicket.
After the fall of Mushfiqur Rahim as the third batsman, the promoted Mahmudullah built a solid partnership with Liton Das. The pair added 79 from 88 balls, building a solid platform for the later batsman. Iftikhar Ahmed came in to bowl the 21st over of the innings. On the fifth ball of the over, disaster happened.
It came on the fifth ball of the over. Iftikhar pitched the ball outside the off-stump line, the ball turned towards the pads of Liton Das who tried to guide it to the leg side. The ball just held on a bit on the pitch, Liton miscued the timing. He ended up chipping the long hop towards the short midwicket fielder. A soft dismissal on a rather innocuous delivery. Bangladesh never got going after this incident and ended up scoring 50 runs short of the target.
Pakistan dominated the Bangladeshi players by beating Bangladesh on a comfortable margin of 7 wickets with 17.3 overs to spare.
Player of the Match
For his magical return with a flamboyant innings of 81 from 74 balls which made the target easily achievable with minimum fuss.
|Bangladesh Total: 204/10 (45.1 overs)||Pakistan Total: 205/3 (32.3 overs)|
|Mahmudullah 56 (70)||Fakhar Zaman 81 (74)|
|Liton Das 45 (64)||Abdullah Shafique 68 (69)|
|Shaheen Afridi 3/23 (9)||Mehidy Hasan 3/60 (9)|
|Mohammad Wasim Jr. 3/30 (8.1)||Najmul Hossain Shanto 0/5 (1)|
It was an easy day at the office for the Pakistani cricketers who demonstrated the massive gulf of difference in class and performance levels between the two sets of cricketers. With India crushing England and Australia narrowly getting past New Zealand, it was up to the Pakistani to play a positive brand of cricket. But the performance may have come a bit too late for the Pakistanis who are virtually out of contention for semi-final berths. Bangladesh’s World Cup ambitions hit a new low after 6 successive defeats in the competition. Bangladesh would look to salvage some pride when they meet Sri Lanka in their next game. Pakistan would have a stern test against New Zealand on 4th November as we move an inch closer to the business end of the World Cup.