Pakistan defeats Bangladesh, keeps World Cup 2023 semifinal hopes alivetext_fields
In a pivotal Cricket World Cup 2023 match, Pakistan secured a commanding seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Kolkata. This win kept Pakistan's slim hopes for a spot in the tournament's semifinals alive.
The match featured standout performances from several key players. Pakistan's fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi delivered a fiery spell with impressive figures of 3 wickets for just 23 runs in 9 overs, playing a crucial role in Bangladesh's downfall. Pakistan bowled out Bangladesh for a mere 204 runs in 45.1 overs.
The star of Pakistan's chase was opener Fakhar Zaman, who returned from injury with an aggressive innings, smashing seven sixes and three fours on his way to scoring 81 runs from 74 balls. His opening partner, Abdullah Shafique, also played an essential role in setting up the victory, contributing a quick 68 from 69 balls.
Despite a brief scare when off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz claimed both openers, Pakistan comfortably achieved their target of 205 runs in just 32.3 overs. This win came as a relief for Pakistan, which was aiming to stay in contention for a spot in the World Cup semifinals.
However, for Bangladesh, it was their sixth consecutive loss in the tournament. As a result, Bangladesh became the first team to be officially eliminated from the competition, with two matches remaining against Sri Lanka and Australia.
With three wins from seven matches, Pakistan is holding onto hopes of making it to the World Cup semifinals. They are set to face New Zealand in their next match, followed by a crucial encounter with England to conclude their league campaign.
The game showcased a new opening partnership for Pakistan, with left-right-handed duo Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique displaying both caution and aggression. They began cautiously, but soon picked up momentum, finishing the powerplay with a score of 52 for no loss.
Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique went on to build a substantial 128-run partnership, with both batsmen reaching their respective half-centuries. While Fakhar Zaman scored his 16th ODI fifty, Abdullah Shafique reached his third fifty.
Fakhar Zaman's brilliant knock came to an end at 81 when he was caught in the midwicket region, giving Mehidy his third wicket. Pakistan's captain Babar Azam, however, continued his underwhelming form in the tournament, contributing just 9 runs.
The remaining runs were comfortably chased down by Mohammad Rizwan (26 not out) and Iftikhar Ahmed (17 not out).
Earlier in the match, Shaheen Shah Afridi, who recently returned from a knee injury, rattled the Bangladeshi top order, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to reach 100 ODI wickets. Pakistan's Mohammad Wasim Jr. was the key figure in the death overs, taking 3 wickets for 31 runs to bowl out Bangladesh for 204.
Despite the spirited resistance from Mahmudullah, who scored 56 off 70 balls, and Litton Das, who made 45 runs, Bangladesh fell short. Pakistan's Haris Rauf also contributed with the ball, taking 2 wickets for 36 runs.
The win provided some relief to Pakistan's campaign, but their journey to the World Cup semifinals remains a challenging one, with crucial matches ahead.