Nazim's bravery goes in vain

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Pakistan (191/7) beat Bangladesh (161/7) by 30 runs
Opener Nazimuddin scored a brave 81 off 50 balls, but that was not enough to prevent Bangladesh from conceding a 30-run defeat against Pakistan in the Twenty20 warm-up tournament at the Nairobi Gymkhana Club ground on Sunday.
Set a target of 192, Bangladesh gave Pakistan a befitting reply with Nazimuddin, playing only his second match, holding one end up without allowing the run rate to reach untouchable height.
However, wickets fell in the end at regular intervals as no other batsmen managed to give him any support. Tamim Iqbal (1), Aftab Ahmed (5) and Mohammad Ashraful (7) left in quick succession before Alok Kapali gave some hope with 19 runs off 11 balls.
As soon as Nazim, who smashed eight fours including three in a row off Mohammad Asif and five sixes, went with Bangladesh still needing 64 runs in six overs, the match swung in Pakistan�s favour.
Still Bangladesh could have won had Mashrafee bin Murtaza lived up to his big-hitting ability. But he managed only 10 off 14 when the need of the hour was completely the opposite.
Earlier, a 76-run opening partnership between Salman Butt and Imran Nazir and some lusty hitting by Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi enabled Pakistan to score 191.
Asked to bat first by Mohammad Ashraful, the Pakistan openers made their intentions very clear from the ball one. The Bangladesh bowlers, especially Mashrafee, were bent upon bowling short and were dealt with severely.
Pakistan were also helped by some sloppy work in the field, Bangladesh dropped as many as four catches, three off them coming from the bat of Nazir. He was dropped off the fifth ball of the match and also again in the second and eighth over.
Nazir was eventually run out after hitting 49 off 29 balls. Skipper Mohammad Ashraful gave the Tigers the much-needed breakthrough in the eighth over inflicting the run out.
Ashraful was easily the busiest man for Bangladesh on the field as he took highest three wickets including a brace in the final over. Ashraful, who conceded 42 runs in four overs, also took a catch.
The introduction of spin slowed Pakistan�s progress and also accounted for Butt�s dismissal who was cleaned up by Ashraful for 33. Shoaib Malik lasted only six deliveries scoring 10. His dismissal, however, brought crowd-favourite Shahid Afridi to the crease who blasted 32 off 18 deliveries.
Afridi broke the shackles after being dropped by Ferhad Reza at midwicket on two. His ruthless batting after Younis� dismissal (48 off 25 deliveries) gave the Pakistan bowlers a solid platform to work with.
Farhad Reza bore the burnt of Afridi�s bat as the all-rounder conceded maximum 55 runs for Bangladesh, though he got two wickets. But Ashraful repeatedly reposed his faith in him and surprisingly did not try his one bowling option in Mahmudullah Riyad.
In the other match of the day Uganda upset hosts Kenya with a two-wicket win.