Sports, Cricket

Clinical Pakistan pocket T20I series

Published : 20 Nov 2021 08:18 PM | Updated : 22 Nov 2021 10:21 AM

Fakhar Zaman's unbeaten 57, following a clinical bowling show earlier in the day, helped Pakistan clinch the three-match T20I series in Mirpur with an eight-wicket victory in Game 2 on Saturday.

Having opted to bat first yet again, Bangladesh were restricted to another sub-par total despite being reasonably placed at 78 for 3 at the end of 12 overs. However, unlike yesterday, there was no final flourish - the home team managing to add only 30 to their total in the last eight overs, including a collapse of three for nine runs triggered by the spinners.

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Shaheen Afridi, replacing Pakistan's star with the ball yesterday Hasan Ali, struck with his fifth ball of the tour, to trap Saif Hasan lbw for a fist-ball duck. Mohammad Wasim Jr sent Naim packing at the other end soon enough, but a 46-run stand between Najmul Hossain Shanto (40) and Afif Hossain helped the hosts cover some ground.

However, once that partnership was broken by Shadab Khan just after Bangladesh went past 50, the hosts could not find another to stabilise their innings. Shadab returned to catch Shanto off his own bowling, ten short of fifty, and Bangladesh's batting stagnated. The lower order struggled against pace and spin alike to crawl to a lowly 108/7 from their allotted overs. Barring Shoaib Malik, every bowler bagged at least a wicket with Shaheen Afridi 2-15 and Shadab (2-22) bagged a brace.

In reply, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam chopped on yet again to depart for a five-ball 1 in the third over, but the visitors never had any scoreboard pressure on them. Fakhar Zaman joined hands with Mohammad Rizwan to ensure the chase was back on track soon enough as the pair put on a steady second-wicket stand worth 85 to all but seal the fate of the game, and series.

Zaman led the charge there, hitting three sixes and a couple of boundaries in his 51-ball unbeaten 57, while Rizwan, not at his fluent best, was happy to play a second fiddle with a contribution of 39 in that stand. As a consolation, Aminul Islam broke the stand with Rizwan's scalp but by then Pakistan were only 12 away. Zaman helped them over the line with the first ball of the penultimate over, Pakistan bagging the series 2-0 with a game at hand.

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