Malik stars as Pakistan down Bangladesh in first T20I

All-rounder scored an unbeaten fifty to help his side bag a 1-0 lead in three-match series

Malik stars as Pakistan down Bangladesh in first T20I PHOTO COURTESY: PCB

It seemed like a dead pitch in Lahore, low bounce ensured that batsmen couldn’t score frivolously while lack of swing meant that the bowlers would not be bagging fivers, but the first Twenty20 International (T20I) between Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Gaddafi Stadium still turned out to be an eventful contest.

Pakistan won the first T20I by chasing a 142-run target in the last over of the match with five wickets intact, but surprisingly Babar Azam, the world number one T20I batsman, wasn’t the star of the match. Instead, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik raised his hand to be the hero of the day.

Pakistan started their chase by losing captain and opener Babar for naught on the second ball of the first over. Shafiul Islam bagged the prized scalp, as Babar nicked one to the keeper.

ALSO READFIR filed against Azharuddin for allegedly cheating travel agent

Another veteran Muhammad Hafeez (17 off 16 balls) was asked to take charge of the innings and he surely tried but was bamboozled by a famous Mustafizur slow ball as he edged one into the air for a simple catch.

In walked Malik, with eyes on this year’s World T20, which he, in his own words, isn’t thinking about. The 37-year-old then made a case for oldies, that T20I is not only a game for the young. While maintaining a strike rate of nearly 100, he struck five boundaries during his 58-run innings to take Pakistan home safely.

His heroics were supported by valuable contributions from debutant opener Ahsan Ali (36 off 32 balls), Iftikhar Ahmed (16 off 13 balls), Imad Wasim (six off four balls) and the winning runs scorer wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan (five off five balls).

Shafiul Islam bagged two wickets for the visitors while Mustafizur, Al-Amin Hossain and Aminul Islam bagged one wicket apiece.

Earlier, Bangladesh opted to bat first and were going strong with the openers Tamim Iqbal (39) and Mohammad Naim (43) scoring 71 without losing their wickets. A run-out saw the end of Tamim’s innings.

One-down Liton Das was the next man to go, while Naim followed him soon after.

The quick wickets broke Bangladesh’s momentum as they crawled to a total of 141-5 in 20 overs.

For Pakistan, debutante pacer and Big Bash League (BBL) hero Haris Rauf bagged one wicket. Shaheen Afridi was the other wicket-taker with one from his four overs, while Shadab bowled four over for 26 runs and one wicket too.