DHAKA: Opener Ahmed Shehzad smashed an unbeaten 111 off 62 balls as Pakistan thrashed hosts Bangladesh by 50 runs to stay on course for the semifinals of the World Twenty20 in Dhaka on Sunday.
The 22-year-old from Lahore hit 10 boundaries and five sixes in his first T20 international century to lift Pakistan to a commanding 190-5 after they elected to bat.
Bangladesh managed only 140-7 in reply in front of a sell-out home crowd of 25,000 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium to suffer their third successive defeat in group two of the Super-10s.
With both Bangladesh and Australia out of the race, the winner of Tuesday’s last league match between Pakistan and the West Indies will join India in the semifinals from the group.
Shehzad, who reached his century off 58 balls in the 18th over, was caught off a Mashrafe Mortaza no-ball in the 19th after hitting the previous ball for a six.
The error proved expensive as Pakistan scored 44 runs in the last two overs, with Mortaza conceding 24 in the penultimate over.
Shehzad hammered 31 in an opening stand of 43 with Kamran Akmal (nine) that came off just 27 deliveries.
Bangladesh fought back by taking three quick wickets, two of them by left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, as Pakistan slipped to 71-3 by the 10th over.
Umar Akmal, Pakistan’s hero against Australia when he made 94 off 54 balls, was dismissed by Mohammad Mahmudullah for no score.
Shehzad gave the innings a boost by smashing two sixes and as many boundaries in the 13th over bowled by seamer Ziaur Rahman, which cost 22 runs.
Shehzad put on 83 for the fourth wicket with Shoaib Malik (26) in the only substantial partnership of the innings, a lesson that escaped the Bangladesh batsmen.
The hosts, looking for a bright start, lost four top-order wickets in 9.1 overs with just 47 runs on the board.
Shakib Al Hasan delighted the crowd with a 32-ball 38 that included two sixes and two fours, before he top-edged a catch off seamer Umar Gul in the 15th over to effectively end Bangladesh’s challenge.
Gul finished with three for 30 in four overs, while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal took two for 20.
WHO SAID WHAT
It is a great effort from the boys. Everyone knew how important these games were. A special knock from Ahmed Shehzad. He was a little under pressure before the game, but the management gave him the support … He has all the shots and today he showed it in his game
Mohammad Hafeez, Pakistan Skipper
For me it’s very important to follow the team plans. I didn’t want to let the team down. I stuck to my basics and delivered. I had a very good start and thought i can bat through the innings
Ahmed Shehzad, Man of the Match
Razaak and Shakib bowled really well, but other bowlers didn’t back them up. Those two overs cost almost sixty runs. When you are chasing a big target, you need someone from top four to bat all the way, but that didn’t happen today
Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh Skipper
BRIEF SCORES: Pakistan 190 for 5 (Shehzad 111*, Razzak 2-20) beat Bangladesh 140 for 7 (Shakib 38, Gul 3-30, Ajmal 2-20) by 50 runs
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