New Delhi: Pakistan produced an emphatic, all-round show to beat Bangladesh by 55 runs in their first Super 10 match of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
After winning the toss, Pakistan opted to bat first. Pakistan set a target of 202 runs with Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and skipper Shahid Afridi playing brilliant individual innings.
In reply, Bangladesh could only managed 146 runs in their stipulated 20 overs, with Shakib Al Hasan remaining not out in 50 off 40 balls.
Mohammad Amir and Shahid Afridi took two wickets each to set up a comfortable win. Afridi was adjudged man of the match for his superlative performance with both bat and ball.
Afridi, who blasted 49 off only 19 balls, finally reminded why he is known as 'Boom boom' as balls disappeared thick and fast into stands. He hit four sixes apart from equal number of boundaries and his innings was the difference between 150 and 200.
Before Afridi's carnage, Ahmed Shehzad (52 from 39 balls; 8x4) and Mohammad Hafeez (64 from 42b; 7x4, 2x6) had laid the foundation with a 95-run partnership from 68 balls.
Afridi got the perfect platform as he took just one single to settle down before smashing Mortaza for consecutive boundaries and a six.
Afridi was exquisite with his shot selection and had all the time to improvise as he raced to 25 from nine balls toying Bangladesh bowlers with ease on a fast outfield.
Such was his power that his mistimed shots went over boundary and the 25,000-plus present in stands mostly comprised die-hard Afridi fans.
Afridi's blitzkrieg along with half centuries from Hafeez and Shehzad meant that their batting came to fore ahead of March 19's big match against traditional rivals India who will be looking for survival after their loss to New Zealand yesterday.
In reply, Bangladesh were in no way in the game and the fast and furious Mohammad Amir provided the perfect start unsettling Soumya Sarkar's offstump in the third ball.
Amid loud cheers, Afridi brought himself on in the sixth over and angled one into Sabbir Rahaman (25) cramping him for room as he was bowled.
Incidentally, Pakistan's highest T20 International total was also scored against the same opposition when they piled 203/5 in April 2008.
Earlier, having lost the early wicket of Sharjeel Khan (18) in the third over, Hafeez and Shehzad laid the foundation for Pakistan in their match turning second-wicket partnership that came off just 68 balls.
A day after getting his suspect action tested in Chennai, left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny who was drafted into the side in place of Abu Hider Rony, provided the first breakthrough in dismissing Khan after Pakistan elected to bat.
Bangladeshi bowlers struggled to adjust their length to the conditions and either bowled full or two short and it did not help their cause. Barring a spectacular acrobatic catch by Soumya Sarkar to dismiss Hafeez, the fielding looked sloppy.
There were also some heated exchange between Tamim Iqbal and Hafeez but it did not last long with the Pakistani batsman getting out in the next over.
(With PTI inputs)