Pakistan cruised to a 7-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the 1st match of the Super 4s stage of the Asia Cup 2023, solidifying their place in the tournament final.
This match was pivotal in the race to secure a spot in the Asia Cup 2023 final, and Pakistan left no room for doubt about their dominance. From the outset, they were in complete control of the game, seizing the initiative from the second over.
Bangladesh, after winning the toss, chose to bat first, a decision that quickly proved to be ill-advised as Naseem Shah and the formidable Shaheen Shah, nicknamed ‘the EAGLE,’ wreaked havoc with the new ball. Shaheen’s affinity for early breakthroughs was on full display as he received assistance from the pitch.
Even Mahidy Hasan Miraz, the most in-form Bangladeshi batsman, was dismissed on the very first delivery. Litton Das tried to counterattack but succumbed to Shaheen in the 5th over. Haris Rauf soon joined the party, taking two wickets in quick succession, leaving Bangladesh reeling at 47 for 4.
A crucial 100-run partnership between skipper Shakib and Mushfiqur offered Bangladesh some respite, but Faheem Ashraf dismissed the half-centurion Shakib. Mushfiqur held his ground until Haris Rauf delivered an exceptional ball in the 38th over, sending Mushfiqur back to the pavilion with the score at 190. The last three Bangladeshi batsmen added a mere 3 runs to the total, setting a target of 194 runs for Pakistan.
With just 194 runs to defend, Bangladesh struggled to maintain control of the game. They bowled accurately, with their pacers showing determination, but the pitch offered minimal assistance. Fakhar Zaman continued his lean phase, and Babar Azam faced a challenging delivery that kept low.
Imam-ul-Haq continued his impressive record in Lahore, despite a couple of close LBW appeals, having already registered multiple centuries and fifties at this venue. With 10 overs remaining, Pakistan secured a comfortable victory, largely thanks to Rizwan, who remained unbeaten on 63.