Pakistan provided a late upset in the opening ICC Champions Trophy warm-up match at Edgbaston today, defeating Bangladesh by two wickets in an incredible final over at Edgbaston.
After winning the toss and electing the bat, opening batsman Tamim Iqbal scored an impressive 102 runs from 93 balls and helped the Tigers to amass an imposing team total of 341.
Arguably the partnership of the match was between Tamim and Imrul Kayes who put together solid 142 runs between them, before Kayes fell to Shadab Khan in the 26th over. Replacing Kayes was wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who went on to add a further 50 runs partnership with Tamim, which saw the Tigers at 219-3 in the 33rd over and looking in total control of the match.
Mushfiqur was unlucky not see see his individual 50, he fell on 46 to a sharp Shoaib Malik catch, but lower order contributions from Mahmudullah and Hossain saw Bangladesh reach 341 after 50 overs.
Requiring almost 7 runs an over Pakistan had their work cutout from the very start of the innings, a task that wasn’t made any easier when opener Azhar Ali departed for just 8 runs in the 3rd over.
Shehzad and Hafeez finally got the ball rolling for Pakistan, their partnership of 59 added some stability after a very turbulent start. After Shehzad departed Pakistan stalwart Shoaib Malik came to the crease and combined with Hafeez to add a further 79 runs to the Pakistan total.
Once Hazeef was removed by Kayes, the Pakistan run rate slowed and scoreboard pressure saw Malik out for 72 after playing a loose shot that was caught by Kayes. Imad Wasim looked as though he was the last flicker of hope for Pakistan and when he holed out for 45 things looked desperate.
Just when it all looked over for Pakistan young Fahim Ashraf made an incredible 50 runs from 26 balls including 4 fours and 3 sixes… A strike rate of 200.00, which isn’t bad for a number 9 batsman. Fahim’s contribution brought Pakistan back from the brink of defeat and set-up a thrilling final over with Pakistan requiring 13 from 6 balls.
The first ball went for 6…
The second ball from Fahim was skied… and dropped with 3 runs made.
The score was now poised at 4 to win form 4 balls.
Surely Bangladesh couldn’t throw this away, could they? The third ball pitched short and was sent crashing to boundary by Hasan Ali. That was it, Pakistan has stolen victory from jaws of defeat to the delight of the Stani Army in attendance. Incredible scenes!
The win will be a huge boost for the Pakistan team, particularly the lower order batter who scored 82 of the final 5 overs to set-up victory.
Bangladesh will be bitterly disappointed to have thrown away the chance to an early scalp in the warm-ups and this game should serve as an early marker to show that they aren’t here just to make up the numbers, they are a dangerous team and look particularly sharp in the field.
Pakistan will look to build on this result as they face Australia on Monday (Bank Holiday) 29th May at 1030am. Tickets are priced from £10 for adults and £1 for U16s.