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Asia Cup: Imam, Rizwan slam fifties, help Pakistan cruise to seven-wicket win over Bangladesh


Lahore, Sep 6 (IANS) Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Rizwan slammed fifties each as Pakistan cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the first match of Super Four stage in the Asia Cup at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday.

After Haris Rauf picked a fiery four-wicket haul in leading Pakistan bowling out Bangladesh for just 193, Imam survived a testing opening spell to make 78, his fifth ODI fifty in last eight innings. On the other hand, Rizwan finished unbeaten on 63 not out for Pakistan to pick two points and sit quickly on top of Super Four stage.

Pakistan’s chase began with Fakhar Zaman stylishly flicking off Taskin Ahmed in the opening over and surviving being caught out at first slip off Shoriful Islam. After a 20-minute floodlight failure interruption, Imam smacked three boundaries off Taskin though Bangladesh bowlers tried their best in keeping the Pakistan openers at the edge.

Bangladesh had a breakthrough when Shoriful trapped Fakhar lbw for a 31-ball 20, but burnt both of their reviews in three overs while trying to get Imam and Babar Azam lbw. Taskin was rewarded for hitting high speeds by getting a fuller delivery to keep low and take Babar’s inside edge to the stumps.

Rizwan got off the mark with a cross-bat swipe off Hasan Mahmud and took four more off him, while Imam survived a third lbw shout and reached his 19th ODI fifty by pulling Mehidy Hasan Miraz for a maximum. Rizwan and Imam hit three fours and two sixes off Mehidy and Shakib Al Hasan combined as Pakistan looked comfortable for a win.

But Imam fell when he was beaten on the inside edge by Mehidy on an attempted slog and was castled for 78 off 84 balls. Rizwan continued his boundary-hitting spree and reached his 11th ODI fifty and with support from Agha Salman, who hit the winning boundary via a reverse-sweep, knocked off the remaining runs to seal Pakistan’s emphatic win.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 193 in 38.4 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 64, Shakib Al Hasan 53; Haris Rauf 4-19, Naseem Shah 3-34) lost to Pakistan 194-3 in 39.3 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 78, Mohammad Rizwan 63 not out; Shoriful Islam 1-24, Taskin Ahmed 1-32) by seven wickets


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