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Bangladesh humble Pakistan in 1st ODI

Having just about recovered from a traumatic World Cup, Pakistani cricket fans were looking forward to the Bangladesh series. However it will not be an easy few weeks. As Pakistan’s powers have faded over the last couple of years, Bangladesh have improved into a high quality side.

Supporting the Pakistan cricket team is an addiction for many of us, we just can’t stop following. But as with many other addictions the highs are short lived and the prolonged lows are very painful.

Pakistan, led by new captain Azhar Ali, started the tour badly with a 1 wicket loss to the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, in the warm up match.

Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Fawad Alam and Junaid Khan made their return. Newcomers Mohammad Rizwan and Saad Nasim made the final line up.

In the 1st ODI in Mirpur on Friday 17th April, Pakistan were given a sharp lesson in batting, bowling and fielding by the impressive Bangladesh side.

Batting first they clocked up their highest ODI total of 329. Tamim Iqbal making 132 and keeper Mushfiqur Rahim an impressive 106 off 77.  The bowling was generally ineffective, with only Wahab Riaz standing out with 4/59. Saeed Ajmal’s newly re-modelled legal bowling action proved expensive. The team’s fielding was also sub-standard.

Chasing a record 330 was always going to be a big ask for Pakistan’s brittle batting lineup.

The PCB selectors must have been content with new Captain Azhar Ali’s impressive 72 off 73 balls. Haris Sohail contributed well with 51. However the 22 year old, Peshawar born, debutant Mohammad Rizwan excelled with 67 runs off 58 balls.

Pakistan then crumbled to 250 all out in the 45th over. Losing by 79 runs.

This was Bangladesh’s first ODI win against Pakistan in 16 years. Their previous win, which I remember well, came on 31.5.1999 in the World Cup in England, beating Wasim Akram’s strong squad by 62 runs. At the time many felt Wasim’s boys were giving the Tigers abit of a free lift to help them get Test status. Pakistan then went onto make the final against Australia, where for some extraordinary reason Wasim after winning the toss, decided to bat first on a gloomy morning a Lord’s!  They were promptly skittled out for 132, with the Aussies racing home in 20 overs. Ouch!!

Congratulations to Bangladesh, who showed the required desire, passion and fight to dominate the match. Pakistan need to quickly improve in all three disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding to gain any credibility. Pressure is on Pakistan as Bangladesh look good enough to win the ODI series.

With a new look younger evolving Pakistan team, we fans do need to be patient. The team has an enormous amount of talent, the match winners will develop over time. Let’s give the youngsters a chance to settle in. Keep supporting Pakistan!

It will certainly be an entertaining, exciting series.

Next ODI match will be on Sunday 19th April.

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