Sarfraz Ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed

Sarfraz Ahmed topscores as Bangladesh restrict Pakistan to 236-9

NetIndian News Network

Mirpur (Dhaka), March 22, 2012

A spirited performance by Bangladesh bowlers restricted Pakistan to 236 for nine in 50 overs against Pakistan in the final of the Asia Cup cricket tournament at the Shere Bangla National Stadium here today.

Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who replaced fast bowler Wahab Riaz in the match, was the top scorer with an unbeaten 46 while opening batsman Mohammed Hafeez made 40. Shahid Afridi made a quickfire 32 while Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam made 30 each.
The Pakistani batsmen had themselves to blame for their dismal performance as they failed to capitalise on the starts they got. Pakistan never got a big partnership, the highest being the 59-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Azam and Akmal.
Bangladesh bowlers did well with their disciplined performance and fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza and left-arm spinners Abdur Razzak and Shakib-al-Hasan picking up two wickets each.
Put in to bat, Pakistan made an unimpressive start losing four wickets with just 70 runs on the board. Barring Hafeez none of the top-order batsmen could contribute well. 
Mortaza gave Bangladesh the first breakthrough by getting rid of Nasir Jamshed (9) with a slower delivery caught by Mahmudullah in the covers and Nazmul Hossain (1-36) trapped Younis Khan lbw. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored a 23-ball 13 before getting run out by a direct throw from Nasir Hossain. 
With wickets tumbling at the other end, Hafeez played a watchful 87-ball knock, hitting four fours. The talented all-rounder was dismissed after he tried to hit out Razzak only to find Nazmul Hossain at mid-on as Pakistan slumped to 70 for four.
Azam and Akmal then tried to resurrect the innings with their 59-run stand. They took a cautious approach but they also departed in quick successions to leave Pakistan struggling at 133 for six.
A 45-run stand between former skipper Shahid Afridi and Sarfraz proved crucial in taking Pakistan to a respectable total. Afridi's 32 came off 22 balls and he smashed four fours and a six in his whirlwind knock.
But it was Sarfraz's 46 that helped Pakistan get past 200. Sarfraz hit four fours in his 52-ball innings and batted well in the final overs.
Bangaldesh, however, raised their hopes for a win in their maiden Asia Cup final appearance. Since their debut in international cricket in 1999, the final is the biggest achievement for Bangladesh cricket.
Mohammad Hafeez c Nazmul b Razzak 40
Nasir Jamshed c Mahmudullah b Mortaza 9
Younis Khan lbw  Nazmul Hossain 1
Misbah-ul-Haq run out (Nasir Hossain) 13
Umar Akmal c Mushfiqur Rahim b Mahmudullah 30
Hammad Azam c & b Shakib Al Hasan 30
Shahid Afridi c Nasir Hossain b Shakib Al Hasan 32
Sarfraz Ahmed not out 46
Umar Gul c Shakib Al Hasan b Mashrafe Mortaza 4
Saeed Ajmal b Abdur Razzak 4
Aizaz Cheema not out 9
Extras (b 2, lb 8, w 4, nb 4) 18
Total (for nine wickets in 50 overs) 236
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Nasir Jamshed, 4.2 overs), 2-19 (Younis Khan, 5.2), 3-55 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 14.5), 4-70 (Mohammad Hafeez, 21.2), 5-129 (Hammad Azam, 33.3), 6-133 (Umar Akmal, 34.5), 7-178 (Shahid Afridi, 41.3), 8-199 (Umar Gul, 44.3), 9-206 (Saeed Ajmal, 45.6)
Mashrafe Mortaza 10-0-48-2
Nazmul Hossain 8-1-36-1
Abdur Razzak 10-3-26-2
Shahadat Hossain 9-0-63-0
Shakib Al Hasan 10-1-39-2
Mahmudullah 3-0-14-1