It was a quite convincing victory for Bangladesh in the end, as they qualified for their 2nd consecutive Asia Cup final. They thrashed Pakistan by 37 runs in Abu Dhabi to seal the berth in the summit clash of Asia Cup 2018 with India. It was a great partnership of 144 runs between Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim which helped Bangladesh post a competitive score of 239 runs.
For Pakistan, none of the batsmen could get going barring Imam-ul-Haq. The southpaw scored a fluent 82, but it wasn’t enough, as the Men in Green fell well short in the end.
However, Bangladesh began disastrously and lost their first three wickets for not many runs on the board. It was a great comeback for the left-arm speedster, Junaid Khan who bagged two crucial wickets, to begin with. Liton Das got castled by a peach of a delivery which breached his defence and disturbed his timbers. Later, it was Shaheen Afridi who bagged the wicket of Mominul Haque.
From there on, it was a great partnership between Mohammad Mithun and Mushfiqur Rahim which got Bangladesh back on track. These were the two batsmen who had resurrected Bangladesh during the opening match of Asia Cup 2018 against Sri Lanka when they were effectively 3/3.
Mushfiqur Rahim showed why he is one of the best Bangladesh batsmen ever. The shots he produced under pressure was quite brilliant.
Mohammad Mithun, in particular, struck some beautiful shots and blazed away to a brilliant half-century. Also, the duo timed their innings to perfection. Both played the waiting game when required and then pressed on the accelerator at a crucial juncture of the game. They shared a partnership of 144 runs which got Bangladesh firmly in control of the match.
Mustafizur Rahman was the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh
However, there were two quick wickets which again tilted the scale in Pakistan’s favour. Mushfiqur Rahim missed out on a well-deserved century by a solitary run, as he edged a full-length delivery from Shaheen Afridi straight to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps. The Pakistan bowlers were quite superb in the final few overs and restricted Bangladesh to 239. At one point they were threatening to score somewhere close to 270.
Pakistan also got off to a similar start to Bangladesh. The Men in Green lost the first three wickets for just 18 runs. The wickets included Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. It was a great beginning from Mustafizur Rahman who bagged two essential wickets, to begin with. Shoaib Malik and Imam-ul-Haq shared a good partnership 67 runs between each other to get Pakistan back on track. However, two more wickets again tilted the scales in favour of Bangladesh.
Despite the fall of wickets at the other end, Imam kept building his innings and ensured Pakistan still had an outside chance Along with Asif Ali, the southpaw shared a good stand to get Pakistan get into the game. Three wickets fell in quick succession, as Pakistan were again reduced to 181/8. Later, they lost the match by 37 runs and got knocked out of Asia Cup 2018.
Here is what the winning skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said at the post-match presentation,
“We changed a bit with our bowling plan today. The bowlers have done a good job. Mushy batted so well and Mithun also batted well. We are proud of our fielding today. We haven’t seen such quality in a long time. Hopefully, we will continue our fielding like this. I was lucky I didn’t drop that catch. If he didn’t get out, he would have carried on. One match to go and hopefully the boys will play hard.”