Bangladesh outplayed Pakistan by 79 runs in the first ODI in Dhaka on Friday, in only their second win over their rivals in 48 games across all three formats.
Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim set up the rare win with impressive centuries as the hosts piled up 329-6 after electing to take first strike at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
Fast-bowler Taskin Ahmed and spinner Arafat Sunny claimed three wickets each as Pakistan were shot out for 250 runs in 45.2 overs to give Bangladesh the lead in the three-match series.
Tamim (132) and Rahim (106) added 178 runs for the third wicket — their country’s highest partnership for any wicket.
“It was a really professional performance by the team,” said Shakib AlHasan, who led Bangladesh in the absence of Mashrafe Mortaza, who served a one-match ban for slow over-rates during the World Cup.
Tamim and Rahim ruined off-spinner Saeed Ajmal’s comeback to international cricket after an absence of eight months due to an illegal bowling action. Ajmal conceded 74 runs in 10 wicketless overs with his remodelled action to finish with his worst one-day bowling figures.
The match marked the start of a new era for Pakistan cricket following the one-day retirement of skipper Misbahul Haq and senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi after the World Cup.
Azhar led Pakistan’s batting charge with 72 off 73 runs after the first two wickets had fallen for 59 runs, and shared a third-wicket stand of 89 runs with Haris Sohail before Taskin removed both batsmen.
Haris hit 51 off 64 balls, but after his departure only debutant Muhammad Rizwan defied the Bangladesh bowlers with a fluent 67.
Azhar promised a better outing in the next match. “We made some mistakes in the field and dropped catches at the wrong time, but the credit goes to the Bangladesh batsmen,” he said. “I think we conceded 30 to 40 runs more than we should have.
“There were some positives for us too. I thought Rizwan batted soundly in his first match. We will rectify our mistakes and come back strongly in the next game.”
Former cricketers’ take on the loss
Bangladesh’s first ODI win against Pakistan after 16 years is an alarming situation for Pakistan, according to former captain Rashid Latif, who believes that attitude was the difference between the two sides in Dhaka.
“It’s certainly an alarming situation for Pakistan because of the emphatic manner in which Bangladesh beat our side,” Latif told The Express Tribune.
“However, I feel we must wait for the next two ODIs because it’s just the first loss for the new team; there is still a chance for Pakistan to come back in the next matches.”
Latif further added that the batting of Azhar and Rizwan are the positives that Pakistan can take from the first ODI.
Commenting on Ajmal, the former wicketkeeper said that the spinner looked off-colour. “Ajmal didn’t look the bowler he once was, so it’s a big concern and I think he will struggle in the Test format,” said Latif.
Another former cricketer, Shoaib Muhammad, praised Azhar for his 73-ball 72. “I’m really happy how Azhar showed his critics that it’s not necessary that a good Test batsman can’t do well in ODIs,” said Shoaib. “Similarly, Rizwan played attackingly and I feel that within six months, he would be one of the stars of Pakistan cricket.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2015.
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