Kolkata, March 16 (IANS) A brilliant 42-ball 64 by Mohammad Hafeez and a blistering Shahid Afridi (49 from 19 balls) ensured Pakistan posted an imposing total of 201/5 against Bangladesh in a World Twenty20 match here on Wednesday.
Ahmed Shehzad was the other major contributor (52) as Afridi rolled back the years at the Eden Gardens. Taskin Ahmed returned figures off 32/2 for Bangladesh.
After electing to bat, Pakistan got off to a strong start as openers Sharjeel Khan and Shehzad took the attack to the opposition.
Sharjeel in the second over clubbed pacer Al Amin Hossain for two massive sixes. The first one was clipped off his hips and the next was a straight blow. He then finished the over with a smack to the ropes, gathering 18 runs off it.
However, Arafat Sunny struck back in the next by cleaning up Sharjeel. The left hander missed a quicker delivery after dancing down the track and it cannoned into his stumps.
Hafeez (52) who joined Shehzad in the middle was quick to get into his groove too. He started off by hitting a six and then pushed hard between the wickets for the quick singles.
By the end of the powerplay, Pakistan were already 56/1 and the duo carried on their good work even after that.
Both batsmen looked at ease on the batting-friendly wicket at the Eden and latched onto anything short or full, smashing them to the fence.
At the end of the 10th over Pakistan were coasting with a run rate of 9 runs per over. Four overs later Bangladesh struck back by breaking the Shehzad-Hafeez partnership of 95 runs.
But then Afridi walked in the middle much to the delight of the spectators. And he did not disappoint as he clobbered his opposite number Mashrafe Mortaza for 18 runs in an over.
Hafeez was soon dismissed, brilliantly caught in the deep by Soumya Sarkar, who showed presence of mind and balance to catch the ball inside the boundary then tipped over but quickly re-entered the field to complete the catch.
In the last two overs Bangladesh gave away 25 runs ensuring Pakistan got a formidable total even as Umar Akmal and Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal had a verbal spat forcing the umpires to intervene.