Afridi shoots Pakistan into final

Shahid Afridi's batting heroics helps Pakistan chase down Bangladesh's highest ever One Day International total.

    Umar Akmal hit the winning runs to set up a final against Sri Lanka on the same ground on Saturday [AFP]
    Umar Akmal hit the winning runs to set up a final against Sri Lanka on the same ground on Saturday [AFP]

    Fawad Alam and Shahid Afridi bludgeoned half-centuries and blasted defending champions Pakistan into the Asia Cup final with a record rundown win against Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh-Pakistan scorecard

    Bangladesh innings
    A Haque c Shehzad b Ajmal 100
    I Kayes c Akmal b Talha 59
    M Haque c Hafeez b Ajmal 51
    M Rahim not out 51
    S Hasan not out 44
    Extras: 21
    Total: (3 wickets; 50 overs) 326
    Fall of wickets: 1-150, 2-204, 3-249

    Pakistan innings 
    A Shehzad b Razzak 103
    M Hafeez c Imrul Kayes b M Haque 52
    M Haq b Hasan 4
    S Maqsood c A Haque b M Haque 2
    F Alam run out 74
    A Rehman c Rahman b Mahmudullah 8
    S Afridi run out 59
    U Akmal not out 14
    U Gul not out 0
    Extras: 13
    Total: (7 wickets; 49.5 overs) 329
    Fall of wickets: 1-97, 2-102, 3-105, 4-210, 5-225, 6-294, 7-325

    Bangladesh posted 326-3, their highest score in One Day Internationals, but could not prevent Pakistan from achieving their biggest run chase, reaching 329-7 with a ball to spare.

    Opener Anamul Haque pulled four sixes and six fours in his 132-ball 100, the second of his career, while Imrul Kayes (59), Mominul Haque (51) and Mushfiqur (51 not out) also hammered half-centuries for Bangladesh against erratic bowling.

    Hasan, returning to the side after a three-match ban for an offensive gesture, gave the innings an impetus with a rapid 44 off only 16 balls at the end.

    The total surpassed Bangladesh's previous best ODI score of 320-8 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo five years ago.

    Pakistan suffered a big loss when umpire Johan Cloete barred left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman from bowling after he delivered his first three balls above waist high at Imrul.

    Pakistan could not recover from Rehman's setback in the 11th over as Anamul and Imrul - playing his first ODI in two years - put on a 150-run opening stand off 172 balls.

    Bangladesh appeared to be choking Pakistan to defeat until Afridi smashed seven sixes and two fours in a 25-ball 59.

    Then Alam cut loose to finish with 74 off 70 balls, falling with one run needed and two balls left.

    Umar Akmal hit the winning runs, a four to the midwicket boundary, to set up a final against Sri Lanka on the same ground on Saturday.

    "I tried my level best to perform well ... it's my type of situation and I had the license,'' Afridi said after Bangladeshi hearts were broken at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium .

    Afridi walked in with Pakistan still needing 102 runs off the last 52 balls, and sent the first ball he faced for a six over the long-on fence. The third ball also flew out.

    As did the fifth, eighth and ninth in the same over off experienced left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan.

    In nine balls, Afridi was up to 35 and his half-century was the second fastest in ODIs, off 18 deliveries.

    "When Afridi plays like that ... there was very little we can do,'' Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said. 

    Tuesday's result made the last two round-robin matches academic: India vs. Afghanistan on Wednesday, and Sri Lanka-Bangladesh on Thursday.



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