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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Asia Cup Cricket: Bangladesh Win Hearts, Miss History By Two Runs!


Bangladesh broke the hearts of thousands of fans when they failed to reach the target of 237 runs set by Pakistan by just 3 runs at the Asia Cup-2012 final played at Mirpur, Dhaka today. It was a thriller down to the last ball bowled. Bangladesh had Pakistan in a spot for most part of the match, but chasing in a big Final watched by home crowds pressure started building up along with the asking rate and Pakistan managed to have better nerves to win their second Asia Cup title.

Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first as had been their preference throughout this tournament. Pakistan had a horrible start and continued to struggle losing wickets on regular intervals on a slowish pitch. Shahid Afridi came good when the team needed him most and somewhat rescued Pakistan from a tottering 133/6 in the 35th over to 178 in the 42nd over. Sarfraz Ahmed scored the highest individual score of 46 for remaining unbeaten. Crucial runs were given away by Bangladesh after the Pakistan innings seemed to be over at 206/9 in the 46th over. Anyway, a target of 237 runs still looked modest and immensely gettable for a team in top form.

Bangladesh started well and steady, but a miserable innings of 16 runs in as many as 62 balls by Nazimuddin kept the asking rising and rising. Opener Tamim Iqbal again played a sterling knock of 60 runs followed with gusto by in-form Shakib making 68 runs. But his wicket in the 44th over and skipper Rahim’s wicket in the 46th over (190/6) set the team back. The brave fight went on still finally falling short by just 3 runs and Pakistan winning by 2 runs. Shahid Afridi came good with ball too giving away only 28 runs in 10 overs with a wicket and he was adjudged the Man of the Match. Scorecard.

Bangladesh missed history alright, but their consistency and coming of age was beyond any doubt. They did not surrender this time as was the case in many earlier occasions and offered a nail-biting one-day match for all cricket lovers. They have beaten everyone except for Pakistan whom they nearly beat two times. They have proved the point that the tag of ‘minnows’ is no longer valid. They have won hearts all over including Pakistan’s Afridi and Misbah who praised their performance in no uncertain terms.

It was a cracker of a final and worthy of a really competitive Asia Cup-2012 that came to a close today.
 
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