Sakib al Hasan touched a new height with bat but Bangladesh were unable to reap the benefit as they suffered a 94-run loss to Pakistan to end their World Cup campaign on a disappointing note at Lord’s on Friday.
Shaheen Afridi picked up 6-35, the best ever bowling figure for his country in a World Cup match, as Bangladesh were bowled out for 221 in 44.1 overs after Imam-ul Haq’s run-a-ball 100 and Babar Azam’s 96 powered Pakistan to 315-9 batting first.
Sakib was the only shining light in Bangladesh’s batting with 64 off 77 balls, but it was not enough to knock off such a massive target and Tigers failed inevitably in their limited over debut at the home of cricket.
Sakib’s seventh fifty-plus innings took him past the 600-run mark in this World Cup, helping him join Sachin Tendulkar and Mathew Hayden in a select group of batsmen to achieve the milestone.
He signed off with 606 runs, well short of Tendulkar’s record 673 in 2003, yet was applauded with a loud cheer as he trudged back to the dressing room being dismissed by Afridi.
Apart from Sakib’s milestone, Bangladesh’s success in the game was limited to denying Pakistan a semi-final spot after restricting the side with largely an inadequate total on the back of Mustafizur Rahman’s five-wicket haul.
Pakistan were knocked out after Bangladesh reached seven runs, ironically owing to a drop catch of Haris Sohail, who dropped Soumya Sakar off Mohammad Amir at slip to symbolise their campaign.
It did not, however, take Pakistan long to end Bangladesh’s resistance as Amir dismissed Soumya for 22 and Afridi bowled Tamim Iqbal through the gates to bring an end to the latter’s disappointing World Cup.
After Mushfiqur Rahim chopped down a Wahab Riaz delivery onto his stumps for 16 and Afridi deceived Liton Das with a slower delivery to get rid of him for 32, it came down to Sakib to bail out Bangladesh.
But the task was too much for Sakib, who inevitably succumbed to the pressure, edging the ball behind the stumps while trying to cut Afridi and it rendered rest of the game into a mere formality.
Bangladesh were expected to do better with bat after a late fight back by their bowlers, which saw Mustafiz finishing with 5-75, his second successive five wicket haul in the tournament.
Saifuddin, who finished with 3-77, gave Bangladesh a rare breakthrough in the first power-play, but Pakistan recovered through Imam and Babar, who put 157 runs for the second wicket to lay the foundation for a strong total.
Bangladesh’s poor bowling and sloppy fielding also helped Pakistan as Mosaddek Hossain dropped Babar on 57 off Mustafiz and Mushfiqur Rahim dropped the same batsman on 65 in the next over, this time off Mosaddek’s bowling.
By the time Saifuddin trapped Babar leg before with a low full toss, Pakistan were well on course for a big score.
Bangladesh finally had some luck going their way once Imam was hit wicket off Mustafiz’s bowling and Pakistan’s middle-order crumbled to give Bangladesh a way out.
But Imad Wasim, touted as Pakistan’s future captain, made 43 off 26 balls to make sure they got the kind of score their bowlers could defend and they accomplished the job rather stunningly.
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