LAHORE               -          Clinical veteran cricketer Shoaib Malik’s heroics helped Pakistan beat Bangladesh by 5 wickets in the first T20I here at the partially-crowded Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.

Chasing the target of 142 runs, the hosts had the worst possible start as captain and champion batsman Babar Azam was sent packing by Shafiul Islam for nought. Babar, who was leading the side for the first time at the home ground, proved a failure. Mohammad Hafeez, who got a place in the national squad for the first time since the World Cup last year, could only gather 17 runs off 16 balls. Hafeez’s departure on Mustafizur Rahman’s delivery at a total of 35 runs added pressure on debutant Ahsan Ali, who ended up with 36 runs as his wicket was claimed by Aminul Islam. He played 32 balls to hit four boundaries as the hosts lost the third wicket at 81 runs.

Iftikhar Ahmed then joined experienced Shoaib Malik and added significant 36 runs for the fourth-wicket partnership. It was Shafiul Islam, who bagged his second wicket, when he took the scalp of Iftikhar at his individual score of 16 runs. Malik then steadied Pakistan ship and proved his selection right through his swashbuckling knock of 45-ball 58 runs, which included five boundaries. Where the young and emerging talent failed to impress, Malik kept his nerves strong and completed the mission in the last over by guiding his side to 5-wicket triumph.

On the third last delivery of the match, Rizwan tried to hit big to finish the match in style but his shot was dropped by Bangladesh fielder and the hosts took two singles to win the encounter. For his brilliant batting display, Shoaib Malik was declared man of the match.

Earlier, Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat first as they set a 142-run target for Pakistan. Bangladesh openers provided a good start to the side by scoring 71 runs for the first-wicket stand. The last ball of the 11th over provided the hosts first breakthrough as their senior batsman Tamim Iqbal was run out when he was playing at 39, which he gathered from 34 balls hitting four boundaries and one six.  After that, Pakistan bowlers bowled brilliantly and built pressure on Bangladesh batsmen, which helped the hosts take their key wickets. Liton Das (12) was also run out at a total of 98. At the same score, Shadab Khan claimed in-form Muhammad Naim’s wicket, whose personal score was 43 from 41 balls with three fours and two sixes.

For the fourth-wicket partnership, captain Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain added only 21 runs in the total, as their rescue mission was shattered by Haris Ruaf, which was his debut wicket in T20Is. Afif contributed only 9 runs while their fifth and last wicket was claimed by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who dislocated stumps of Soumya Sarkar (7), when the guest team was struggling at 128-5 in 18.5 overs. From Pakistan, Haris Rauf, Shadab Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi were the successful bowlers as they got one wicket apiece.

Scorecard

BANGLADESH:

Tamim Iqbal run out 39

M Naim c Iftikhar b Shadab 43

Liton Das run out 12

Mahmudullah not out 19

Afif Hossain b Rauf 9

Soumya Sarkar b Shaheen 7

Mohammad Mithun not out 5

EXTRAS: (lb3, w4) 7

TOTAL: (5 wkts; 20 overs) 141

FOW: 1-71, 2-98, 3-98, 4-119, 5-128

BOWLING: Wasim 3-0-15-0 (1w), Shaheen 4-0-23-1, Hasnain 4-0-36-0, Rauf 4-0-32-1 (1w), Malik 1-0-6-0, Shadab 4-0-26-1

PAKISTAN:

Babar Azam c Das b Shafiul 0

Ahsan Ali c sub b Aminul 36

M Hafeez c Islam b Rahman 17

Shoaib Malik not out 58

Iftikhar Ahmed c Das b Shafiul 16

Imad Wasim b Hossain 6

Mohammad Rizwan not out 5

EXTRAS: (lb1, w3) 4

TOTAL: (5 wkts; 19.3 overs) 142

FOW: 1-0, 2-35, 3-81, 4-117, 5-133.

BOWLING: Shafiul 4-0-27-2 (2w), Rahman 4-0-40-1 (1w), Hossain 4-0-18-1, Sarkar 2.3-0-22-0, Aminul 4-0-28-1, Afif 1-0-6-0.

TOSS: Bangladesh

UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza

TV UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab (PAK)

MATCH REFEREE: Ranjan Madugalle (SL)