Pakistan vs Bangladesh 2020: Shoaib Malik stars as Pakistan go one up

Anuj Nitin Prabhu

Shoaib Malik batted brilliantly on a slow pitch and remained unbeaten on 58*, taking his team to victory

Scorecard:

Bangladesh: 141-5 (20 overs)

Mohammad Naim 43(41), Tamim Iqbal 39(34); Shaheen Afridi 1/23

Pakistan: 142-5 (19.3 overs)

Shoaib Malik 58*(45), Ahsan Ali 36(32); Shafiul Islam 2/27

Cautious opening stand

Bangladesh opted to bat first with a view of putting runs on the board. Openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Naim got off to a cautious start. Tamim's experience combined with Naim's youth gave Bangladesh a slow but steady opening stand of 71 in 11 overs.

Tight bowling and excellent fielding

Just when they had to accelerate, a miscommunication between the duo saw Tamim get run out for 39, throwing away a good start.

Tamim Iqbal could not quite capitalize on his start and got run out at the wrong time for Bangladesh.

Liton Das then got together with Naim and took the score to 98-1 in the 15th over, with the stage set for a late flourish. However, another run-out involving Naim saw Das return back to the pavilion and Naim's wicket on the very next ball saw two new batsmen at the crease for Bangladesh. These twin strikes in Shadab Khan's over put the breaks on Bangladesh's run-scoring and dented their hopes of getting a score in excess of 150.

Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf were absolutely brilliant with the ball at the death as Bangladesh could only manage to score 141 off their 20 overs. Afridi ended with figures of 1-23 off his four overs while Rauf ended up giving 32 runs but took his maiden international wicket in the form of Atif Hossain.

Poor start to the chase

Pakistan suffered a body blow when they lost their skipper Babar Azam for a duck off the bowling of Shafiul Islam in the very first over. Debutant Ashan Ali then looked to stabilize the chase with the experienced Mohammad Hafeez for company. Hafeez looked in good knick as he raced on to 17, scoring three boundaries, but fell to Mustafizur Rahman, putting Pakistan in a tricket situation at 36-2 at the end of the powerplay.

Ali, Malik stabilize the chase

Shoaib Malik had a point to prove as he was making his comeback in the T20 squad

One experienced batsman making his comeback into the T20 squad was replaced by another as Shoaib Malik joined Ahsan Ali. The duo added 46 runs for the third wicket before Ali perished off the bowling of Aminul Islam.

Malik to the rescue

Experience comes into play when the team is stuck in a tricky situation and that is exactly what Shoaib Malik showed. He showed composure when the wicket of Ahsan Ali fell and understood that it was important for him to bat till the end. With useful contributions from Iftikhar Ahmed, Malik remained unbeaten in the end on 58 off 45 balls, guiding Pakistan to victory by five wickets and with three balls to spare.

Malik was adjudged the Man of the match for his excellent performance with the bat. He was extremely satisfied with his innings but he also believed that it was the bowlers who won the game for Pakistan. These were his thoughts after the game -

"The ball was coming well with the new ball, but it wasn't easy later on, needed to find the gaps. Credit to the bowlers, fielding was exceptional, overall - it was a good performance. When the pitch is tough or when you're chasing, you need to give yourself a chance, take the game deep. Rotate strike, take singles and kill a few overs so that you can produce boundaries at the end"