19 April 2008
Pakistan completed their eleventh consecutive victory in one day internationals as they trounced a hapless Bangladesh side by 150 runs in the 5th ODI of the Bank Alfalah cup at Karachi today. Having won the toss, Shoaib Malik chose to bat first, and Pakistan piled up a winning total of 329, assisted largely by another ton from Salman Butt, which at the end of the day proved too much for the Bangladeshi batsmen to chase down.
Having conceded in excess of six runs an over, Bangladesh required an effort more valiant than the one on the third ODI, where they put up a fight until the slog overs before falling 24 runs short of the massive target. That was not to be as the Bangladeshi batsmen fell - for what felt like the millionth time in a decade or so - one after the other. The collapse began in the fifth over when Junaid Siddique, looking to drive a wide one from Mohammad Asif, sent it down the throat of Butt at backward point, who made no mistake. Aftab Ahmed was the next man in, and he came and went, extending his run-drought as he attempted to play across the line to a delivery that came in a little, getting trapped in front of the wicket.
Tamim Iqbal was the next to go as he played a half-hearted drive to one outside the off stump, edging it to the wicket-keeper after surviving a wild slash that sailed over the slips in the previous delivery. With the top order gone in the space of four balls, Bangladesh were going through an all too familiar phase. When Shakib Al Hasan - hero of the previous game - fell to a beauty from Asif that clipped off the bails, all lay, once again, on Mohammad Ashraful. He looked in good touch as he swept, pulled, drove and rotated well with Mahumudullah, but soon edged to Misbah ul Haq off the bowling of Shahid Afridi. He departed for a quick 30 and the lower order succumbed to the pressure. Contributions from Dhiman Ghosh (29) and Abdur Razzak (33) barely helped post a respectable total as Bangladesh ended at 179.
Earlier, the Pakistani batsmen had started the day's proceedings in their usual explosive manner. Kamran Akmal was caught in the slips off a delivery by Mashrafe Mortaza that was moving away, but boundaries were scored every over as Butt and Younis Khan pushed on. They put up 179 together, as Butt scored his 136 off only 124 balls with 14 fours and a six. Younis' 69 was a tad subdued in comparison, although he maintained a strike rate of 86.25. Wickets fell at regular intervals from there, but contributions from Haq (35) and Malik (27) put Pakistan in the driver's seat. Mortaza, Razzak and Hossain shared the wickets for Bangladesh.
At the end of the day, there seems to be more agony in the Bangladeshi camp as their players, especially the batsmen, are looking clueless out there in the middle. Poor showings from Aftab and Ashraful, the most senior of the lot, have left quite a few questions on where they go from here. Perhaps it is time for major change.