Pakistan march to easy win over Bangladesh

Pakistan marched to an easy seven-wicket win against Bangladesh in the fourth one-day international on Wednesday and stretched their lead to 4-0 in the five-match series.

Pakistan’s in-form top order batting line-up — led by left-hander Salman Butt (74) — scored 212-3 in 44.3 overs after a gutsy century by left-hander Shakib Al Hasan (108) had lifted Bangladesh from precarious 109-8 to a modest 210 all out off their 50 overs.

Bazid Khan (51) also scored a half-century and featured in an 82-run stand with Mohammad Yousuf, who remained unbeaten on 37. Yousuf scored the winning runs when he swept left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak for a boundary.

Khan, who hit just two fours in his 90-ball knock, departed with only 12 needed for victory when he played a loose drive and gave an easy catch to Shahadat Hossain.

Butt, who scored a century in the third game at Lahore on Sunday, and Kamran Akmal (36) provided a brisk opening stand of 97 runs.

Akmal, also a century-maker in the previous game, hit six fours and a six in his 35-ball knock before he holed out in the deep off Hasan’s slow left-arm spin bowling.

Butt looked set for his second successive century but was run out off a brilliant fielding by Razzak after hitting eight boundaries in his 84-ball innings.

Earlier, the left-handed Hasan defied Pakistan with 108 off 120 balls and rescued Bangladesh with a record-breaking 97-run ninth wicket stand with Mashrafe Mortaza (38).

The Bangladesh innings was in tatters at 109-8 in the 29th over before Hasan and Mortaza hit back.

Hasan, who went in to bat in the third over at 16-3, completed his half-century off 64 balls before he reached his hundred in the 47th over off 115 deliveries with eight fours.

Mortaza departed in the next over, holing out in the deep in paceman Mohammad Asif’s return spell. Hasan was the last man to be dismissed as he mis-timed a pull shot off Sohail Khan (3-30) and was caught at mid-on in the last over of the Bangladesh innings.

The Hasan-Mortaza partnership bettered Bangladesh’s previous best ninth-wicket stand of 62 between Khaled Mashud and Mohammad Rafique — made against the West Indies at St Vincent in 2004.

Pakistan paceman Umar Gul (3-48) jolted the top order with three wickets in his first three overs after captain Mohammad Ashraful won the toss and elected to bat first.

Gul struck twice in his first over when Junaid Siddique, who replaced out-of-form Shahriar Nafees, edged to wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. One ball later, Misbah-ul-Haq took a low catch to dismiss Aftab Ahmed in the first slip.

Paceman Asif — playing his first international match after six months on the sidelines with an elbow injury — removed dangerman Tamim Iqbal, who drove a wide delivery and was brilliantly caught by Salman Butt at point for 10.

Ashraful struggled for 11 deliveries before he too fell to a Misbah-Gul combination.

Already trailing the five-match series 3-0, Bangladesh further stumbled when Sohail knocked back Mahmudullah’s off stump. Farhad Reza was then caught behind and wicketkeeper-batsman Dhiman Ghosh failed to score a run and was trapped leg before wicket. Abdur Razzak (7) was also adjudged lbw off captain Shoaib Malik before Murtaza and Hasan rescued the innings.

The last match of the series will be played at Karachi on Saturday before both teams meet in a Twenty20 International on Sunday. — Sapa-AP

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