Asia Cup: Pakistan prevail in epic final

Published: March 23, 2012
Pakistan were able to edge out Bangladesh in a tense final and clinch their second Asia Cup title with Aizaz Cheema delivering the over of his life to make sure the hosts did not record their third successive win in the tournament. PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan were able to edge out Bangladesh in a tense final and clinch their second Asia Cup title with Aizaz Cheema delivering the over of his life to make sure the hosts did not record their third successive win in the tournament. PHOTO: AFP


Pakistan claimed the Asia Cup with a thrilling two-run victory over a dogged Bangladesh, breaking the hearts of home supporters who saw their unfancied side take the game to the wire.

Pakistan – tournament winners in 2000 – held Bangladesh to 234 for eight, agonisingly short of their total of 236 for nine, despite impressive half-centuries from Shakib Al Hasan (68) and opener Tamim Iqbal (60). Pakistan paceman Aizaz Cheema took three wickets, while fast-bowler Umar Gul and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal each took two to strangle Bangladesh’s run-chase.

The hosts, appearing in their first Asia Cup final, looked well placed to win the day-night match but faltered in the final over. Needing nine to win with three wickets in hand they could manage only six, as Cheema held his nerve to see out the game.

Cheered by a capacity crowd, Bangladesh started their innings strongly, reaching 68 for the opening wicket through Tamim and Mohammad Nazimuddin (16), before Pakistan struck with three wickets in the space of 13 runs.

Tamim hit eight fours in his fourth successive half-century before being caught by Younus Khan in the covers off Gul.

Shakib kept Bangladesh’s hopes alive with an 89-run stand for the fourth wicket with Nasir Hossain (28), but his dismissal in the 44th over put the hosts under pressure.

Pakistan batsmen struggle

Bangladesh had earlier restricted Pakistan’s free-scoring batsmen with tight bowling.

Left-arm spinners Shakib and Abdur Razzak and paceman Mashrafe Mortaza bagged two wickets apiece, with Sarfraz Ahmed leading Pakistan’s innings with an unbeaten 46.

Mortaza struck in his third over when he dismissed opener Nasir Jamshed before seamer Nazmul Hossain trapped Younus leg-before.

Bangladesh’s fielders expertly supported their bowlers with Nasir running the tourist’s captain Misbahul Haq out before Nazmul held a good catch to account for Mohammad Hafeez. Shahid Afridi made a brisk 22-ball 32.

Misbah, who saw fortune swing from one side to the other, was a relieved man.  “It was a wonderful victory,” said the captain. “All the guys contributed and Sarfraz’s innings was vital.

“We were hoping that anything around 225-230 would be a fighting total and our bowlers did very well. This is really a new Bangladesh team we’ve seen.”

His counterpart was disappointed after Bangladesh had recorded upset wins over India and Sri Lanka but failed to clear the final hurdle. “We’ve fought in all the games and achieved a lot in the tournament,” said Rahim.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Sana
    Mar 23, 2012 - 2:21AM

    Congratulations to Pakistanis all around the world.


  • G.A.
    Mar 23, 2012 - 2:49AM

    Al-hamd-o-Lilah, its great that Pakistan won, but the attitude from Bangladesh team showed lack of sportsman spirit through their tears in front of whole world. Whatever comes, one should be courageous enough to control one’s emotions in victory or defeat. In this respect, Pakistani team gave a good impression by giving cheering up remarks for the opponent team in the midst of so much bitterness from the hosts.


  • Pakistani
    Mar 23, 2012 - 3:30AM

    Well played Bengalis. U really played like tigers. Good luck next time!!!!!!!!


  • Always Learning
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:55AM

    Congratulations to the Pakistan team. Misbah is a great captian. He has helped the team gel and more importantly conduct themselves with dignity. This team has done our country proud. A lesson for the PCB and their soft treatment of Amir. Talent is very important, but character even more so. This team has character and (apparent) unity. Each player tried and contributed. Glad to see Sarfaraz come into his own. He is a good wicketkeeper. The new coach has his work cut out to improve the batting.


  • usmanx
    Mar 23, 2012 - 6:37AM

    GA, we must have watched two different games if you believe what you stated.


  • Abba Jee
    Mar 23, 2012 - 7:16AM

    Real winners are BD who beat India and Sri Lanka. BD beat India and Sri Lanka. India beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pakistan beat BD and Sri Lanka. Only team which beat Pakistan was India in this tournament. Go figure the real champions.


  • Achhu
    Mar 23, 2012 - 7:46AM

    Ya when they were teary eyed it was fine but then dhaaarain maar kar Rona was a bit too much..


  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Mar 23, 2012 - 9:50AM

    @Abba Jee:
    If BD is the real champ then what does that make Pakistan who beat them two times. Atmospheric champions? LOL


  • syed Parwez Hussain
    Mar 23, 2012 - 11:24AM

    The real champion of the tournament was Bangladesh. They batted well, they bowled well and fielded well during the entire tournament. They defeated world champions India who defeated Pakistan in the same tournament. They also defeated Sri lanka and they all most defeated Pakistan in yesterday’s game. My congrats is to Bangladeshi team for their excellent performance. During the match my prays were with our Pakistani teams but after the defeat of BD and as well as seeing their tears I could not stop my tears and thinking the cup should be given the given the well deserving team Bangladesh.

    At last I would like to tell that Bangladeshi team’s future are very bring and they may give tough time to all the camps in next world cup.


  • Tariq
    Mar 23, 2012 - 11:36AM

    Congrats to Team Pakistan and all countrymen on this win at the even of Pakistan Day. It was a valiant effort by Bangladesh, and it’s good to see another worth contender emerge in the neighborhood. No doubt South Asia is the home of cricket now – best teams, best spectators, and the best market for the game.


  • Nas
    Mar 23, 2012 - 12:04PM

    To all who are pakistani and say BD should have won as they feel sorry for them as they are very naive. They think BD is a poor country, bhai bhai rhetoric etc while BD ppl think otherwise. I must say being living/interacting with Bangla ppl at certain stages of my life, most of them hate pakistan. We always complain about our textbook hatred but let me tell you their young generation who were not even born in 1971, they have got so much venom in their hearts, I just wonder it will probably take another 100 years (if the text books were changed) to clean those hearts of that hate…. We should always pray for our team to win no matter who they are playing with and that should be the norm in professional sport.


  • bharat
    Mar 23, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Pakistan is the deserving winner. Congrats to Pakistanis from India


  • Vaqar - UK
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:14PM


    Really silly comments. There is no shame in those tears. Shows the commitment the Bangladesh players had. Though Pakistan won (by the skin of their teeth), Bangladesh definitely was the team of the tournament.


  • Rehman
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Another “Tamacha” on Misbah haters. This guy is proving Mr Me fans every time. I hope PCB appoints him captain for at least 1 year.Recommend

  • amer
    Mar 23, 2012 - 1:21PM

    *Bravo ……………Pakistan deserved the feat and many more to follow.
    No one should teach us how to write textbooks .
    Wounds ,if any , would be healed, by normalization of brotherly relations between the two
    independent nations.
    Pakistan TIGERS played like a unified force,which was the call of the day and Team Pakistan well done .


  • Salman
    Mar 23, 2012 - 2:42PM

    Well played Pakistan. This was a hard tournament then expected. Pakistan team emerging as winner and that too without a superstars except half Afridi and Ajmal in making. Still we need to make our batting strong. 236 on that flat was a below par score and that against average Bangladeshi bowling although the day was saved once again by the bowlers.


  • Emm
    Mar 23, 2012 - 3:01PM

    If PAK loses we say match was fixed, if PAK win we feel sorry for the opposition… and you call yourself loyal fans. for me PAK to win everytime. Our players showed GREAT character to hold their nerves. Bang. played well and deserved praise, however a true supporter will always want his team to WIN.
    CONGRATULATIONS PAKISTAN. Long may the winning ways continue.
    ps Bharat – I told you so… who was holding the cup…. thats right… PAKISTAN.


  • Imtiaz
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:33PM

    Your comments, at best, can be described as silly and childish, and absolutely incoherent with the sentiments that a player nurses. We have seen strong and huge football players cry like small children before TV cameras, as if their candy was snatched away from their hands when their teams lost. And why bring in religious jingoism as your opening line suggests? Can you not call spade a spade without evoking some religious line which bears no relevance here. Bangladesh did lose but Pakistan’s victory was Pyrrhic in nature. Let us not forget, dear Pakistani brothers and sisters, that it was badly defeated by India which, in turn, due to some perverted logic, could not participate in the final because Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka. That’s cricket! We have to take it in stride.


  • G.A.
    Mar 23, 2012 - 5:52PM

    @Vaqar – UK:
    No hurt feelings, but its a matter of sense. World’s most fiery matches are held between England and Australia during Ashes and between India and Pakistan but none of these teams have ever shown such a silly behaviour in order to show their commitment to their nations.


  • Eventers
    Mar 23, 2012 - 6:59PM

    I am the Final at Melbourne. I am the last ball at Sharjah. I invented the reverse swing. I mastered the multiple hat-trick. When they wouldn’t let me play at home, I drifted wherever I could. I am the sultan of swing. I am the cornered tiger. I beat the Windies in the ’80s. I am the aggression. I am the passion. I am the Champion of Cricket. I am the unpredictable. I AM PAKISTAN!


  • sandeep limaye
    Mar 23, 2012 - 8:19PM

    congratulations to Pakistan.
    i would like to recall the time of my youth when Pakistan have best bowling attack of the world .. waqar, wasim, shoaib,
    when they were there we used to pray to our lord not for win but for the safety of our players. i a curious why Pakistan is not producing that kind of bowlers now


  • ANON
    Mar 23, 2012 - 11:44PM

    @sandeep limaye:
    You are forgetting something. Aamir and Asif duo was a replacement for Waqar and Wasim.One is in jail and the other is giving interviews after release from the jail. I am glad that we did it without them but sad that bowling department is weak in their absence.


  • Pakistani
    Mar 24, 2012 - 3:07PM

    Your comment makes no sense! So what if the Bengalis were emotional. It shows how much the cup meant to them.. Take a chill pill man


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