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PHOTOS: Pakistan win Asia Cup by 2 runs

Last updated on: March 22, 2012 23:03 IST

PHOTOS: Pakistan win Asia Cup by 2 runs

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Pakistan held their nerves as they pulled off a nail-biting two run victory against Bangladesh to lift the Asia Cup in Mirpur.

- Scorecard

Pakistan were restricted to a modest 236 for nine but held their nerve to stop the spirited hosts at 234 for eight, shattering Bangladesh's hopes of notching up their maiden title.

The hosts needed nine runs of Aizaz Cheema's tense last over but fell short by two runs as a stunned silence descended on a fully packed Sher-e-Bangla National stadium.

The in-form Shakib Al Hasan (68) and Tamim Iqbal (60) were the notable performers for Bangladesh but none of the other batsmen could come up with significant scores to tilt the scale in their favour.


Image: Pakistan's cricket team celebrate after they won the final match against Bangladesh at the Asia Cup Tournament
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Bangladesh bowlers restrict Pakistan

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Bangladesh produced a fine bowling display before a late burst propelled Pakistan to 236 for nine in the final of the Asia Cup in Mirpur on Thursday. 

After recording two upsets in the form India and Sri Lanka already in the event, giant-killers Bangladesh are in with a golden opportunity to create history by halting Pakistan within a reachable target. 

But if not for some lacklustre bowling by Shahdat Hossain towards the end and useful contributions from Shahid Afridi (32) and wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed (46 not out), the target could have been much lower for Bangladesh. 

Shahdat gave away 19 runs in the final over of the innings and was guilty of bowling two no-balls, which not only boosted Pakistan's score but also their confidence.


Image: Bangladesh's fielders celebrate after teammate Mashrafe Mortaza (2nd L) dismissed Pakistan's Nasir Jamshed
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Hafeez failed to capitalise on a good start

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Mohammad Hafeez (40), Umar Akmal (30) and Hammad Azam (30) all failed to capitalise on good starts. 

Young Sarfaraz top-scored for Pakistan with an unbeaten 46, while Shahid Afridi played a 22-ball 32-run cameo to wriggle Pakistan out of trouble.

For Bangaldesh, experienced pacer Mashrafe Mortaza (2-48)), and spin duo of Abdur Razak (2-26) and Shakib Al Hasan (2-39) scalped two wickets apiece, while Nazmul Hossain (1-36) and Mahmudullah (1-14) picked up one each.


Image: Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez (R) plays a shot as Bangladesh's captain and wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim (L) looks on
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Misbah was caught short of the crease

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Left-handed opener Nasir Jamshed was the first Pakistani batsman to depart in the fifth over, handing a simple catch to Mahmudullah at cover of a slower delivery from Mortaza while trying to clear the in-field. 

Five deliveries later, it turned out to be double celebrations for Bangladesh when Nazmul trapped veteran Younis Khan plumb in-front of the wicket. 

Hafeez and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (13) tried to resurrect the innings with a 31-run stand before the latter perished in search of a tight single.

A brilliant Nazmul caught Misbah short of the crease at the non-striker's end with a direct throw after the batsman hesitated in starting off the blocks for the single.


Image: Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq is run out against Bangladesh
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Hafeez fell 10 runs short of his fifty

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To make matters worse for Pakistan, Hafeez, who got a reprieve on seven, failed to capitalise on the chance after doing all the hard work and fell on 10 runs short of his fifty. 

Hafeez was caught by Nazmul off Abdur Razzak at mid-on as he tried to break the shackles. 

With Pakistan in shambles at 70 for four, Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam joined hands and did a small recovery act, stitching 59 runs before two more quick wickets spoiled their hard work.  

Both Akmal and Azam gave away their wickets after scoring identical 30s. 

Akmal played the role of a sheet-anchor and scored his runs off 45 balls with the help of just one six, while Azam tried his luck and clobbered three boundaries and a six during his 37-ball stay. 

Reduced to 133 for six, Afridi played a cameo and together with wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed added 45-runs in just 44 balls to stretch Pakistan's struggling innings.


Image: Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez (R) leaves the field as Bangladesh's fielders celebrate his dismissal
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Tamim Iqbal scored a fourth successive half century

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Chasing a modest target the home team began on an impressive note, Tamim Iqbal (60) and Nazimuddin putting on 68 runs for the opening wicket. 

Afridi provided Pakistan with their first breakthrough, having the latter caught by Younis Khan. 

Tamim, who had scores of 64, 70 and 59 in his three previous matches, scored his fourth half century in succession, his 68-ball knock comprising of eight hits to the fence. 

Umar Gul eventually had him caught by Younis at extra cover. Tamim finished the Asia Cup with an aggregate of 253 runs in four matches (@ 63.25), the tournament's second highest scorer behind India's Virat Kohli (357 runs in three matches).


Image: Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal runs between the wicket against Pakistan during the final match of Asia Cup
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Nasir, Shakib keep Bangladesh in the hunt

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Nasir Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan then stitched up a crucial partnership in the middle to keep Bangladesh in the hunt. Shakib brought up his fifty with a lofted short over midwicket for a boundary in the next over.

Needing 77 runs off 54 balls, the left-hander then changed gears and blasted Cheema for the first six of Bangladesh innings over deep midwicket.

However, Gul dismissed Nasir Hossain in the next over to derail their chase. Looking for a pull, Nasir ended up giving an easy catch to Misbah-ul-Haq at mid-wicket.

Shakib picked up another boundary with a scoop over short fine but Cheema got rid off the batsman in the 44th over when looking to play a pre-determined shot at the fine leg area, he ended up losing his stumps.


Image: Shakib Al Hasan is clean bowled by Cheema
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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Skipper disappoints

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Mushfiqur Rahim who saw his team through against India couldn't replicate his performance as he as back in the hut for just 10.

Mashrafe Mortaza did strike couple of crucial boundaries, but was soon dismissed by Saeed Ajmal.

Mahmudallah waged a lone battle in the end, but lack of boundaries meant that Bangladesh were short by just two runs.


Image: Bangladesh's captain Mushfiqur Rahim leaves the field as Pakistan's fielders celebrate his dismissal
Photographs: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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