Pakistan pulled off their highest run-chase in ODIs, achieving 327 against hosts Bangladesh in their crucial Asia Cup match, courtesy a Shahid Afridi blitzkrieg at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Afridi’s astonishing 18-ball fifty included seven sixes and two fours and equaled the record for the second fastest half-century, a milestone he has already achieved on two other occasions.
While the star all-rounder lit up the stadium, left-handed batsman Fawad Alam scored 74 off 70 balls in his comeback knock and was undoubtedly the stability Pakistan needed in the middle of the innings as they won the thrilling encounter by three wickets and one ball to spare.
Earlier, Anamul Haque smashed a brilliant century to help Bangladesh post their highest one-day score of 326-3 in their must-win Asia Cup match in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old scored 100 from 132 balls for his second one-day international century as Bangladesh punished the much vaunted Pakistan attack after Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and decided to bat.
Bangladesh made as many as five changes after their shock 32-run defeat against Afghanistan, the most prominent being all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s return after he was suspended for three matches over indiscipline.
That paid off as a revamped batting line-up led by Anamul bettered Bangladesh’s previous highest-ever total of 320-8, made against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2009.
Bangladesh were off to a solid start, as Anamul and Imrul Kayes (59) put on 150 for the opening wicket, the team’s first century-opening stand against Pakistan in one-day cricket. Kayes benefitted from a dropped catch off the fifth delivery by Ahmed Shehzaz in the slip off Mohammad Hafeez as Bangladesh cashed in on some erratic bowling from Pakistani bowlers.
Shahid Afridi went for 64 runs in his ten overs while paceman Mohammad Talha conceded 68 in seven and Umar Gul 76 in his 10.
Kayes was the first to go, caught behind off Talha after smashing five boundaries and two sixes off 75 balls.
Anamul took a single off Saeed Ajmal to complete his second one-day hundred but holed out in Ajmal’s next over.
In all he hit six boundaries and four well-timed sixes.
Mominul Haque (51), Rahim (51 not out) and Shakib with a 16-ball 44 comprising six fours and two sixes, made the final touches as Bangladesh scored 121 in the last 10 overs.
Sri Lanka have already qualified for Saturday’s final and Pakistan need to win this match to join them.
A spell to forget
Pakistani spinner Abdur Rehman had a spell to forget in the match, the left-armer sending down a hat-trick of illegal full tosses to finish with bizarre bowling figures of 0-0-8-0.
Brought into the attack in the 11th over at, the 34-year-old spinner’s first delivery to Imrul Kayes slipped out of his hand and sailed well above waist-height and wide outside the off-stump.
His second attempt turned out to be a chest-height beamer, which Kayes pulled to deep midwicket, where a fielder took the catch but the batsman stayed at the crease after replays confirmed another no-ball.
Under International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions, a bowler is taken out of the attack after sending down more than one full toss above the waist but South African umpire Johan Cloete let Rehman continue after a brief chat with Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq.
Rehman came round the wicket still searching for his first legitimate delivery but even his third attempt proved to be a full toss at the body of Anamul Haq, who pulled it to the midwicket boundary for an additional four runs.
Rehman was summarily taken out of the attack after conceding the highest amount of runs ever recorded without bowling a single ball, and was replaced by fellow left-arm spinner Fawad Alam.
Teams: Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul Haq (capt), Ahmed Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Talha.