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Malik's gritty fifty anchors Pakistan's chase

Malik's gritty fifty anchors Pakistan's chase

Lahore, Jan 24 (UNI) Shoaib Malik, playing his first international game since announcing

his retirement from ODIs after the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, scored an unbeaten

58 to guide Pakistan home in first of the three T20Is played at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium

on Friday.

Chasing Bangladesh's 141/5, Pakistan lost Babar Azam for a duck early in the chase,

after the skipper unsuccessfully challenged the on-field decision for a caught behind off medium-pacer Shaiful Islam in the very first over.

Mohammad Hafeez, also making an international comeback looked good early on,

striking three fours, but lobbed one to the short-cover fielder off Mustafizur Rahman to

leave the hosts at a tricky 35/2 at the end of the fifth over.

Malik then joined Ahsan Ali, one of Pakistan's two debutants, and the pair put on 46 for

the third wicket to ensure steady progress.

Ahsan lost his patience to the wrist-spin of Aminul, who gave little away in the middle

overs. Iftikhar Ahmed edged one behind off Shaiful at 16, while Imad Wasim was castled

by Al-Amin Hossain on the first ball of the penultimate over, with Pakistan still nine away,

an ICC report said.

Malik, having already reached his fifty in the previous over, kept the scoreboard moving

to reduce the equation off five off the final overs.

With the hosts still two away, Mohammad Rizwan, the keeper-batsman skied one to

Mohammad Mithun at deep mid-wicket, but the fielder shelled the chance to allow

Pakistan complete a five-wicket win.

Earlier, Tamim Iqbal (39) and Mohammad Naim (43) added 71 for the first wicket but

struggled to accelerate on a sluggish surface after skipper Mahmudullah opted to bat.

Haris Rauf, the debutant latched onto an opportunity brought about by the misjudgment

from the pair, resulting in Tamim's run-out on the last ball of the 11th over.

The next three overs yielded 25 runs, but another run-out, this time brought about by

a brilliant piece of fielding by Shadab Khan who found a direct-hit at the non-striker's

end to cut short Liton Das's stay for 12, dented the progress.

Skipper Mahmudullah scored an unbeaten 19 off 14, while Naim top-scored for the

visitors in their first innings effort of 141/5. Shaheen Afridi, Shadab and Rauf grabbed

a wicket each.

The second game will be played on Saturday at the same venue.

Brief score:

Bangladesh - 141/5

Pakistan - 142/4


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