Afridi stars in Pakistan's 55-run World T20 win over Bangladesh
KOLKATA, India (AP):
Captain Shahid Afridi produced a superb all-round effort as Pakistan opened their World Twenty20 campaign by dispatching Bangladesh by 55 runs
Afridi's 19-ball 49 boosted Pakistan to a record 201-5 total after electing to bat. He then grabbed 2-27 with his leg spin as Bangladesh were restricted to 146-6.
Afridi built on a 95-run,
second-wicket stand between Mohammad Hafeez (64) and opener Ahmed Shehzad (52) on a good batting surface at Eden Gardens, smashing four fours and four sixes. Hafeez hit seven fours and two sixes off 42 balls while Shehzad struck eight fours off 39.
Shehzad played solidly and was quick to punish loose balls before he was caught at midwicket off leg-spinner Sabbir Rahman in the 14th over.
Hafeez got to his first 50 in the World Twenty20 with a
single off Mashrafe Mortaza in the next over, which went for 18 runs as Afridi bludgeoned some huge shots on the leg side.
Hafeez was out to a brilliant catch by Soumya Sarkar at the deep midwicket fence. Sarkar plucked the ball from high on his left and, realising he would cross the boundary, flicked it up and jumped back inside the boundary line to complete the catch.
Afridi, too, was caught in the deep, but promoting himself up the order paid off as Pakistan registered their highest score at a World Twenty20 and the seventh highest in tournament history.
"My performances play a key role," Afridi said. "It's a big event and as captain, as a senior player, I had to lead by example. The first six overs were important and Hafeez and Shehzad did very well."
In reply, Bangladesh could not put up a spirited fight and failed to build enough partnerships.
Shakib Al Hasan top-scored with 50 not out off 40 balls with five fours and one six, but the pressure of a huge target told on their batsmen.
Afridi removed well-set batsmen Sabbir Rahman (25) and Tamim Iqbal (24) to undermine Bangladesh's chase.
"Chasing 200 is always difficult with the Pakistan bowling attack," Bangladesh captain Mortaza said. "And after six overs, it was almost impossible. Shakib batted very well and we got 150, so it's not that bad. We didn't bowl well today."