ICC World Cup 2023: Fakhar stars as Pakistan keep their semi-final hopes alive

ICC World Cup 2023: Fakhar stars as Pakistan keep their semi-final hopes alive

Kolkata, OCT 31: After losing four consecutive matches, Pakistan made an excellent comeback and thumped Bangladesh by seven wickets in the 31st match of the ongoing ICC World Cup 2023 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, India, on Tuesday.

Fakhar Zaman made his comeback after five matches and made sure that he makes the most of it as the left-handed batter scored 81 runs off 74 deliveries with three fours and seven sixes — with one of them being a 99-metre maximum.

Abdullah Shafique also scored 68 runs as he combined forces with Zaman to build a 128-run opening partnership that put the Green Shirts in a dominating position.

However, in a convincing victory, skipper Babar Azam failed to stand till the end and finish the game for Pakistan as he got out for nine runs, getting caught by Mahmudullah at long on while trying to hit a six.

Mohammad Rizwan (26) and Iftikhar Ahmed (17) finished the game for the Green Shirts, who remained alive in their race to the semi-final of the World Cup.

Batting first, Bangladesh met with Shaheen Afridi’s first-over magic as Tanzid Hasan was removed for a duck in the first over by the left-handed pacer.

Problems continued for the Tigers as Najmul Hossain Shanto (4) and the experienced Mushfiqur Rahim (5) were removed by Afridi and Haris Rauf respectively in the next five overs, leaving Bangladesh at 23-3 in 6 overs.

However, Littos Das and Mahmudullah formed a 79-run partnership, helping their side to post crucial runs against the deadly pace attack of Pakistan.

However, Das lost his wicket to Iftikhar Ahmed as he was getting closer to his fifty. Mahmudullah followed his counterpart soon enough as he was bowled out by Afridi for 56 runs.

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan contributed 43 runs while Mehidy Hasan Miraz scored 25 but their efforts at the lower order were not enough to take their side to a completive total as the entire Bangladeshi team were all out for just 204 runs.

Shaheen and Wasim Jr were the pick of the bowlers for Babar Azam-led unit as both pacers bagged three wickets each.

Pakistan will now play New Zealand in another must-win match on November 4 in Bengaluru. The Green Shirts would have to win the match at all costs if they want to keep their hopes of playing the event’s semi-final alive.