Pakistan Keeps World Cup Hopes Alive With Win Over Bangladesh

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Wasim picked up three wickets each before Abdullah Shafique, and Fakhar Zaman helped steer Pakistan home

Pakistan Keeps World Cup Hopes Alive With Win Over Bangladesh

Pakistan finally ended their tournament-threatening rut to beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in their Cricket World Cup 2023 match in Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

Bangladesh, however, now find themselves firmly out of the running, having secured a solitary victory from seven matches.

Pakistan named a much-changed side on Tuesday. The side, which has been rocked by several off-the-field issues, received its biggest shock yet when National Team Selector Inzamamul Haq abruptly resigned on Monday over what he said was an inquiry pending into one of the companies he owns. 

One of the first casualties of Inzamam's absence was his nephew Imamul Haq, who has proved his talent in the white-ball format but has been woe-full in the ongoing tournament. Elsewhere, Shadab Khan was sacrificed for Agha Salman, while Usama Mir was also included in Hassan Ali's stead.

Bangladesh got off to a horrid start, thanks to Shaheen Shah Afridi appearing to get some of his magic back.

By the 10th over, Bangladesh were reeling at 37 for three, with Haris Rauf helping Afridi dismantle the Bangladeshi top order.

Litton Das put up a 79-run fourth-wicket partnership with Mahmudullah. Mahmudullah continued to score a half-century before falling to Afridi.

Rauf came in to dismiss captain Shakib Al Hasan, who tried to continue the fight even as wickets kept going down around him. 

After Hasan's departure, Bangladesh lost their remaining three wickets for just 19 runs. They set Pakistan 205 to win.

Shaheen closed with figures of three for 23 in nine overs. Haris Rauf was expensive, with two wickets for 36 off eight overs. Mohammad Wasim also picked up three wickets for 31 runs off eight overs.

Pakistani openers Abdullah Shafique and Fakhar Zaman, realising the need to improve their net run rate, put down the foundations for a quick run chase. But just as they put their foot on the accelerator, Shafique was dismissed for 68, but not before he had helped post an opening partnership of 128 runs with Zaman. Pakistan then lost two wickets in quick succession to spark fears of another collapse. Captain Babar Azam was dismissed for nine, followed closely by Fakhar Zaman for a player of the match performance with 81. 

Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmad then did their best to get Pakistan over the line within 30 overs and keep their hopes in the tournament alive.

Later, Azam said that the team gave a much-improved performance in all three segments of the game that ensured they won comfortably. 

He added that their first task was to win their remaining matches and then see if the chips fall in their favour.

Pakistan needs to win all of their remaining matches and for certain results to go their way before they can hope to secure a semi-final berth. 

Pakistan have now moved into fifth with Tuesday's victory. With six points, they are only able to sit above Afghanistan, thanks to a better run rate.