Mirpur: Bangladesh today registered a spectacular five-wicket victory over Pakistan in a low-scoring thriller to set up a title clash against India in the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament.
Chasing a target of 130 runs for victory, Bangladesh won the match in 19.1 overs with Mahmudullah Riyadh (22 not out off 15 balls) and Mashrafe Mortaza (12 off 7 balls) adding 27 in just 1.5 overs to help the hosts overwhelm the target with five balls to spare.
In trouble at one point at 104 for the loss of 5 wickets in 17.2 overs, Bangladesh managed to wither the Mohammad Amir storm (2/26 in 4 overs) in what turned out to be a tense final few overs.
Skipper Mortaza went on rampage in the 18th over, hitting two back-to-back boundaries off Amir before playing two dots. With Bangladesh requiring 18 off the last two overs, Mohammed Sami had Mortaza caught at long-off but to the bowler's horror, it was called a no-ball for overstepping as the equation came down from 15 off nine balls to 12 from nine balls with the skipper and Mahmudullah running a couple.
With nine required off seven balls, Mahmudullah bisected a fuller delivery from Sami behind point boundary and to the joy of the crowd it was too adjudged a no-ball.
At the start of the final over, Bangladesh required three runs which was a mere formality. It was Mahmudullah, who thrashed Anwar Ali over deep mid-wicket boundary to finish off the chase in style.
Chasing the fighting total, Tamim Iqbal (8) flicked Amir behind square for a six but was trapped leg before in the very next over.
Left-handed opener Soumya Sarkar, who has had a quiet Asia Cup till now, hit a couple of boundaries to get into the groove as the in-form Sabbir Rahman walked in at the other end.
Sabbir (14) did not have a great day even though 33 crucial runs were added for the second wicket with Sarkar. Finally, Sabbir was bowled as he jumped out to a flight delivery from Afridi that went in with the angle.
The dismissal failed to put brakes on Sarkar as he continued to play his natural strokes. The shot of the match was a six over deep mid-wicket off seamer Anwar Ali, which was executed with effortless ease. The final delivery of the 10th over saw Sarkar play another pull shot for boundary.
Fifteen runs came off the Anwar over as Pakistan's chances of making it to the final looked bleak from there on.
(With PTI inputs)