Three quick blows reduced Pakistan to 18/3 in the fourth over and the team never recovered from that and were eventually restricted to 202/9 in their chase of 240. The result means Bangladesh reached the final of Asia Cup for only the second time in their history.
Shoaib Malik and Imam-ul-Haq tried to steady the ship with a partnership of 67 for the fourth wicket but that was brought to a spectacular end by Mashrafe Mortaza. The catch that Bangladesh captain took belied both his age and the number of knee injuries that Bangladesh captain has had throughout his career.
Shadab Khan batting at number six looked as uncomfortable as Pakistan have in the entire series and he was soon heading to the pavilion, becoming Soumya Sarkar’s first ODI wicket.
Asif Ali and Imam added 71 runs for the sixth wicket to give Pakistan a semblance of a chance but that was soon vanquished as both batsmen were dismissed in a space of two overs, both stumped. Imam for 83 and Ali for 31.
Pakistan treaded water after that and the match reached it’s inevitable conclusion after that.
Earlier, batting first, Bangladesh posted a fighting total of 239, courtesy of fine half-centuries from Mushfiqur Rahim (99) and Mohammad Mithun (60).
Junaid Khan — who replaced Mohammed Amir in the playing XI — ended with stunning figures of 4/19 and played a more than crucial role in dismissing the ‘Bangla Tigers’ before they could play their full quota of overs.
Bangladesh got off to the worst start possible as Junaid removed Somya Sarkar for 0 in the third over. Mominul Haque departed in the next over as he was castled by Shaheen Afridi for 5. Liton Das then became Junaid’s second victimof the day as he was clean bowled by the left-arm pacer for 6.
Mushfiqur and Mithun joined forces in the middle and started the rebuilding job for Bangladesh. The duo played risk-free cricket and kept rotating the strike, hitting the occasional boundary.
Both notched up their respective half-centuries and stitched together 100-run stand for the fourth wicket, which was their second of the tournament. During the course of their partnership, they became the first Bangladeshi pair to score century partnership for fourth wicket, after losing first three wickets for 15 or below.
Mithun’s innings finally came to an end as he played a rash shot and was caught and bowled by Hasan Ali. Imrul Kayes was the next batsman to depart as he was trapped LBW by Shadab Khan for 9.
But Mushfiqur held the innings from one end and kept scoring runs at a good pace. However, before he could score his second ton of the tournament, Mushfiqur was dismissed by Shaheen for 99. The right-hander became the first Bangladeshi cricketer to be dismissed for 99 in ODIs.
Mahmudullah and Mashrafe Mortaza played handy innings at the end but Pakistani bowlers cleared the tail quickly and bundled them out for 239.