So, Pakistan have flexed their muscle and sent out a strong message to the rest of the competition. It is India lined up next for them and what a cracker that will be on the 19th. However, there's plenty of action before that. Right as I type, the toss is about to take place in Mumbai where England take on West Indies. Over to the other tab. See you!
Mortaza: "200 is always difficult. After six overs it became almost impossible. Shakib batted really well and we got 150, so not so bad. Looking ahead, we need to bowl better and make more use of the first six overs with the bat. Bengaluru wicket is flat so the bowlers need to come up with plans. Mustafizur is getting better, hopefully he'll be back."
Afridi: "My performance always plays a key role but I haven't done well recently. It's a big event and I should take responsibility as captain and senior player. Spoke with the coach regarding the batting order today and he was happy with me promoting myself. From last two-three series, our batsmen have struggled to find runs. But today they did well. Likes of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad. Openers play a very important role. Sharjeel is a good attacking cricketer too. If he gets going, he can score 60 runs in the first six overs. I expect good things from him, especially on these pitches which are heaven for batsmen. We don't want to live in past. Need to play good cricket against India, and learn from our previous mistakes against them. Our morale is pretty high after this win. Captaincy isn't an easy job (chuckles), but team is giving 100% and I am enjoying captaincy as well."
Afridi is Man of the Match for a scintillating all-round display
So a win today will answer a lot of questions for Pakistan. Or will it only establish what we have known for years? That Pakistan forget every problem as they enter a big tournament. Their batting looks weak in comparison to other teams but when it clicks, it is capable of tormenting any attack. And Afridi is still their biggest match winner. Was not he all over the Bangladeshis today? First used his bat as a mace and then marshalled his troops from the front to defend the target.Talking about Bangladesh, they should not get disheartened. Their much-awaited outing at the Eden Gardens did not go as planned. Perhaps it was one of those days for them when nothing fell in place. Regrouping as a unit and forgetting about the loss should be high on their agenda for the matches to come. After all, one match does not decide fate! (India nod)
Chasing 200 in T20Is is cricket's equivalent of scaling the Mount Everest. No matter how frequently it is being done these days, it remains a feat. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, they lacked certitude against the mighty Pakistani bowling to hunt down the mammoth target. Mohammad Amir continued with his habit of sending an opener back in the first over. And when Afridi, with his sheer smartness, removed Sabbir Rahman, Bangladesh would have known that nothing but a miracle could save them. But as is the case with miracles, they are not a regularity. Shahid Afridi continued flaunting his skills and choked Bangladesh.
KOLKATA: Cornered tigers Pakistan are all set to take on high-flying Bangladesh in their WT20 opener at Eden Garden Kolkata.
This would be second time both the sides are coming head to head in this month. Bangladesh had defeated Pakistan by 5 wickets when the two sides clashed in Asia Cup 2016 match in Sher e Bangla cricket stadium, Dhaka.
Watch Ball By Ball Score Here: Pakistan Vs Bangladesh Live Score
Pakistan, who had been having a poor run in shorter format of the cricket, have finally got some momentum in their last two games against Sri Lanka, one in Asia Cup, and then in WT20 warm-up.
Pakistan batting line-up has yet to perform, as in India, conditions and pitches are quite different then in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh on the other hand have improved in all three departments, their batsmen have producing runs, their bowlers producing breakthroughs and fielders giving more than hundred percent. Overall, they are way better team than they were in last Wt20 tournament.
MS Dhoni is not often prone to such grandiose statements, least of all in front of a cadre of journalists searching for big, bold headlines and hashtaggable quotes. He even confessed to changing the speech he had cooked up for a function at the Indian High Comission last Sunday upon hearing the media would also be present. So when a man who measures his words so carefully felt the Asia Cup "was an important one to win", you get curious.
On the surface, it doesn't look particularly startling. An eight-wicket victory in a rain-curtailed game where India were chasing 121 in 15 overs. It was their sixth on the trot, meaning they were in form, and everyone from the opposition captain to umpteen cricket experts had tagged them as the favourites. India were ranked No. 1. Bangladesh were at No. 10. Things merely panned out to establish that, right?
Sure. If Twenty20 cricket cowed down to logic like that.
Dhoni seemed acutely aware of the format's penchant to make anything happen and he worked tirelessly to ensure he wasn't caught off guard. He had assessed this to be the "best batting wicket in the tournament", but keeping the runs down was crucial because "it is a knockout game. If it's an off day for you, you're completely out and you have to start all over again."
Going back to the drawing board with a World T20 waiting for them when they return home was not an option. So Dhoni was adamant to stay ahead of the game. He brought Ashwin on for the first over to perhaps see if the ball turning away from the left-handers could offer India an edge. It didn't so he was quick to bring on Ashish Nehra and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been absolute nuisances to opening batsmen since the start of the year. Soumya Sarkar fell in the fourth over, Tamim Iqbal followed him in the fifth.
Dhoni drew Ashwin out of his sleeve again the minute the Powerplay was done, but that also meant he had only one over left from each of his three lead bowlers for the rest of the innings.
He kept Bumrah for the final over - which yielded only seven runs - knocked Nehra's quota off in the 13th so he needn't feel too much pressure on the one day he didn't seem at his best and sprung Ashwin on Shakib Al Hasan in the 10th after the batsman had crashed Hardik Pandya's pace for a brace of boundaries in the eighth. A lazy sweep resulted in a top-edge and short fine leg was perfectly placed.