Shahid Afridi grabbed five wickets for 23 runs and then kept his cool in a batting crisis as Pakistan overcame Bangladesh by five wickets in the first one-dayer in Dhaka on Thursday.
The leg-spinner ripped through the Bangladesh lineup as the hosts were bundled out for 91 after electing to bat at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium — with seven batsmen failing to reach double figures.
Pakistan lost five wickets chasing the modest target which was eventually overhauled in the 26th over to give the tourists the lead in the three-match series.
Seamer Rubel Hossain and spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets apiece to leave Pakistan struggling at 63-5, before Afridi took his team home with an unbeaten 24 off 23 balls.
As the runs dried up on the turning wicket, Afridi broke free with three successive fours off Shakib and then cut the same bowler for another boundary to win the game.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made 16 not out, sharing a match-winning stand of 30 with Afridi.
It was Pakistan’s 26th win in 27 one-dayers against Bangladesh, the lone defeat having come during the 1999 World Cup in England.
Afridi, who was the obvious choice for the man of the match, said he wanted to do well every time he took the field.
“I want to be consistent, that’s the most important thing,” the 31-year-old said. “This time I tried to bring a lot more variations in my bowling and that worked.”
“When I went out to bat, the coach told me to play my normal attacking game,” he said.
Misbah said he was worried when five wickets went down.
“It really looked tough at one stage, but Afridi won us the game,” the relieved Pakistan skipper said.
Bangladesh, who lost half the side for 31 runs, were dismissed in 30.3 overs and barely managed to surpass their lowest one-day total against Pakistan of 87.
Bangladesh’s batting never recovered after losing opener Tamim Iqbal with the fourth ball of the innings, trapped leg-before by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.
Nasir Hossain (21) and Shakib put on 36 for the sixth wicket to ensure Bangladesh did not fall below their lowest total of 58 — against the West Indies at the same venue during the World Cup in March.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said he was disappointed his team was bowled out for just 91.
“It looked a good track to bat on, but we lost a couple of early wickets,” he said. “Credit goes to the Pakistan bowlers, but we need to work on our batting at the top of the order. Hopefully it will all come together in the next match.”
The second one-dayer will be played at the same venue today.