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Pakistan clinch low-scoring thriller in first Bangladesh T20

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Pakistan held their nerve to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series against Bangladesh in Mirpur.

Chasing 128 for the win, Pakistan were in a spot of bother at 24/4 inside the Powerplay. Fakhar Zaman and Khushdil Shah steadied the ship with a 56-run stand.

Despite a valiant effort from the Bangladesh bowlers, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz eventually finished the game off in style with a stunning 36-run partnership off just 15 balls.

Earlier, Bangladesh too struggled but Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan and Mahedi Hasan helped them post a respectable total on the board.

Pakistan strike early

Bangladesh’s decision to bat first after winning the toss didn’t go to plan. In hot and sunny conditions, Pakistan pacers made full use of whatever little movement was on offer with the new ball.

Mohammad Naim was the first to make the long walk back, chasing a delivery wide outside off and nicking it to Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.

In the very next over, Mohammad Wasim found some movement off the seam and induced an outside edge off debutant Saif Hassan’s bat. Fakhar Zaman made no mistake at first slip as Bangladesh lost their openers.

Najmul Hossain Shanto’s stay at the crease didn’t last long either, as Wasim forced a rash shot and completed a good catch going backwards off his own bowling.

It wasn’t until the fifth over of the innings that Bangladesh got their first boundary. Afif Hossain found the ropes twice in two overs to give some sort of momentum to the innings but the Tigers lost a wicket at the worst possible time when they lost their skipper to a peach of a delivery from Mohammad Nawaz.

Middle-order leads fightback

At the halfway stage, Bangladesh found themselves at 40/4. With the scoreboard pressure building, Afif Hossain broke loose in the 11th over with two sixes in two overs.

With Nawaz bowling, the southpaw took full advantage of the angles, tonking the left-arm spinner over his head two balls in a row.

His resistance finally came to an end as Shadab Khan got the better of him with a googly, drawing him forward. Rizwan was quick to dislodge the bails as Bangladesh lost half their side for 61.

Nurul Hasan ensured Bangladesh don’t lose the little momentum they had gained. He smashed Shadab Khan for a six and four in the 15th over before taking Wasim over the ropes for his second maximum of the innings.

Brought back into the attack, Hassan Ali ended Nurul Hasan’s stay at the crease for 28 but a 20-ball 30* from Mahedi Hasan helped Bangladesh post a decent target of 128 for Pakistan to chase down.

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