PALLEKELE, Sri Lanka (AP):
Pakistan opener Imran Nazir smashed 72 off 36 balls to lead his team into the Super Eight stage at the World Twenty20 with an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh yesterday.
Bangladesh needed to win by at least 36 runs to knock out Pakistan in the final Group D match, and Shakib Al Hasan's 84 off 54 balls in a total of 175-6 raised hopes an upset was possible. But they were dashed by Nazir smashing nine fours and three sixes in a 124-run opening stand off 81 balls with captain Mohammad Hafeez (45), as Pakistan cruised to 178-2 in 18.4 overs to record its highest-ever run chase.
"It's a great team effort. The boys have shown the right attitude so far in this tournament," Hafeez said. "There's a little bit of a concern about the (Pakistan) fast bowlers, but I am very happy as captain, and the team is responding to me."
Pakistan topped the group after also beating New Zealand by 13 runs.
Pakistan join India, South Africa and Australia in the seemingly more difficult Group 2 of the Super Eight stage. Defending champions England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies are in Group 1.
Bangladesh had a sniff of victory, but Abul Hasan dropped Nazir at mid-on in Shafiul Islam's first over with the batsman on 1.
But the life didn't change Nazir's style of smashing the ball around the field at Pallekele International Stadium.
His half-century took 25 balls - the quickest at this World Twenty20 - with seven fours and three sixes and he hit a further three boundaries.
Abul Hasan removed both openers in the 14th over when he had Nazir caught in the deep and Hafeez edged to wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim.
Nasir Jamshed, who scored a half-century against New Zealand at the same venue, added 52 with Kamran Akmal as Pakistan raced to the target with eight deliveries to spare.
ICC World Twenty20
Tabulate under: P - matches played, W - wins, T - tied result, L - losses, NR - no result, Pts - points.
Top two teams in each group advance
Thursday, September 27
Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
England vs West Indies
Saturday, September 29
England vs New Zealand
Sri Lanka vs West Indies
Monday, October 1
West Indies vs New Zealand
England vs Sri Lanka
Friday, September 28
Pakistan vs South Africa
Australia vs India
Sunday, September 30
Australia vs South Africa
Pakistan vs India
Tuesday, October 2
Australia vs Pakistan
India vs South Africa
Thursday, October 4
Super 8 Group 1 winner vs Super 8 Group 2 runner-up
Friday, October 5
Super 8 Group 2 winner vs Super 8 Group 1 runner-up
Sunday, October 7
Note: Seedings of the teams were predetermined for Super Eights - irrespective of the results in group matches.