Pakistan thump Bangladesh to stay alive in semi-final race


Former champions Pakistan kept alive their slender chances of making the semi-finals of the 50-overs World Cup with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh on Tuesday.

Electing to bat, Bangladesh could never really recover from a top order collapse and posted a modest 204 before being all out in the 46th over at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Pakistan's three-pronged pace attack impressed with the new ball and were equally effective in the death overs with only Mahmudullah (56) managing a half-century for Bangladesh.

Openers Fakhar Zaman (81) and Abdullah Shafique (68) combined in a 128-run stand to set up their victory that came with 17.3 overs to spare in a major net run-rate boost for them.

Babar Azam's men moved to fifth place in the points table after their third win in seven matches.

Head coach Grant Bradburn had rued how lack of swing in India had defanged Pakistan's pace attack, usually their strong suit, in the tournament.

Bradburn must have been pleased as the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim and Haris Rauf collectively claimed eight of the 10 Bangladesh wickets in the match.

Left-arm quick Afridi (3-23) struck with his fifth delivery, trapping Tanzid Hasan lbw for his 100th ODI wicket.

Najmul Hossain Shanto fell in Afridi's next over and Bangladesh slumped to 23-3 after Rauf (2-36) had Mushfiqur Rahim caught behind in the sixth over.

Litton Das (45) and Mahmudullah arrested the slide but the flourish Bangladesh needed did not materialise.

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan made 43 but Wasim claimed three wickets in his last seven deliveries to hasten Bangladesh's collapse.

Replacing Imam-ul-Haq at the top of the order, Fakhar found his form as he and Abdullah started dictating terms right from the start.

A ball after Abdullah brought up his fifty with a single off Taskin Ahmed, Fakhar reached his own in a more spectacular manner by hitting the pacer over his head for a six.

Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (3-60) trapped Abdullah lbw, a decision that was upheld after the batter challenged it.

Babar gifted his wicket and Fakhar, who smacked seven sixes, fell short of his hundred but Pakistan's victory was merely a matter of time by then.

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