National team chased down its highest-ever target of 327 run during Asia Cup match in Dhaka.
Shahid Afridi smashed the second fastest one-day half-century and Ahmed Shehzad hit 100 to give Pakistan a three wicket win over Bangladesh on Tuesday and a place in the Asia Cup final.
The 34-year-old, who hit two consecutive sixes to give Pakistan a one-wicket win over India on Sunday, was once again Pakistan’s savior as they chased down their highest-ever target of 327 in 49.5 overs in Dhaka.
Afridi overshadowed a brilliant 103 by opener Ahmed Shehzad and a sedate 74 by Fawad Alam who both set the tone for the chase, but it was the aggression of Afridi which helped Pakistan overcame a tough resistance from the hosts.
Pakistan will meet Sri Lanka in Saturday’s final.
Afridi, who went into bat with Pakistan needing 101 off 52 balls, smashed paceman Shafiul Islam for a four to reach 50 off just 18 balls, one short of one-day cricket’s fastest-ever half-century record held by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya, made against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996. In all, Afridi took seven sixes and two boundaries off just 25 balls.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq praised Afridi as a “hero.”
“He’s really playing well and he’s cashing into his form which is really good for us,” said Misbah. “Everybody knows the kind of player he (Afridi) is when he is in full swing and nobody can stop him.”
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim admitted Afridi snatched the game. “When Afridi plays like that there was very little we can do. He took away the game,” said Rahim.
Before Afridi’s blitz, it was a remarkable turnaround for the hosts who suffered a shock upset defeat against newcomers Afghanistan in their second match on Saturday. Bangladesh made several changes after their 32-run loss, the most prominent being all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s return after he was suspended for three matches over indiscipline.
That paid off as a revamped batting line-up led by Anamul bettered Bangladesh’s previous highest-ever total of 320-8, made against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2009.