World T20: Afridi heroics lead Pakistan to 55-run victory over Bangladesh

Pakistan got their World T20 campaign off to a winning start, after beating Bangladesh by 55 runs in Kolkata

World T20: Afridi heroics lead Pakistan to 55-run victory over Bangladesh
Shahid Afridi sparked a big win for Pakistan over Bangladesh at the World T20 (image via: AFP)

Pakistan opened their account in the 2016 World T20 with a 55-run victory over Bangladesh at Eden Gardens in Kolkata

Shahid Afridi's all-round brilliance came to the fore in the victory, firstly with the bat where he smeared 49 off 19 balls after elevating himself to number four in the order, which he followed up with two wickets in the Bangladeshi chase. 

Pakistan's 201 was always likely to be too many for Bangladesh chase, and it proved so, with Bangladesh's innings coming to a close at 146-6 from their 20 overs. 

Pakistan's next match is on Saturday at the same venue, when they take on rivals India, with a win there most likely knocking the hosts out of their own tournament. For Bangladesh, they have a few days off before they meet Australia, in what will be a must-win game. 

Hafeez and Shehzad hit half-centuries in 95-run partnership

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Pakistan's Sharjeel Khan went about putting the bowlers under pressure early on with some big hitting. In the second over of the innings, the left-handed Khan smashed Al-Amin Hossain for a pair of sixes and another four to steer Pakistan to 25-0 from two overs. 

The fun didn't last long though, with Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza turning to his spinner, Arafat Sunny, who straight-away bowled Khan for 18. 

Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammed Hafeez shared a 95-run partnership (image via: AFP)

That wicket brought Mohammed Hafeez to the wicket, who continued where Sharjeel had left off, finding the boundary well during the early part of his innings. 

Hafeez, alongside Ahmed Shehzad, shared a 95-run partnership in 11 overs, setting an excellent platform for Pakistan's middle-order.

Shehzad was eventually the second man out for a well-made 52 from 39 balls, after being caught by Mahmudullah off the bowling of Sabbir Rahman

Hafeez followed Shehzad back to the dugout a couple of overs later for 64 off 42 balls, after an incredible piece of fielding by Soumya Sarkar. Situated on the long-on boundary, Sarkar caught the ball one-handed off balance, before looping it in air, stepping over the boundary and then re-establishing himself in the field of play before catching the ball for good. 

Boom Boom fires Pakistan past 200

As captain, Afridi definitely led from the front with the bat, smashing the Bangladeshi bowlers to all parts in his 19-ball innings of 49.

It was the reminiscent of the Afridi of old, who teed off from ball one, clubbing four fours and four sixes in his game-changing innings which fired Pakistan upwards of 200. 

He was eventually caught on the boundary one short of a half-century, off the bowling of Taskin Ahmed, who also who accounted for the wicket of Umar Akmal for a duck. The damage had been done though, and with Shoaib Malik's 15 not out, Pakistan had gone past 200, setting Bangladesh 202 for victory. 

Afridi snags important wickets after Amir knocks over Soumya early

Chasing a big total, Bangladesh got off to the worst possible start, losing opener Soumya in the first over of their reply. 

Mohammad Amir celebrates his early wicket (image via: AFP)

He was comprehensively bowled by Mohammad Amir who completely beat him for pace to leave Bangladesh 1-1. 

It was then over to Afridi, who continued where he had left off with the bat, dismissing Bangladesh's most dangerous pair of batsmen.

First to go was Sabbir, who Afridi bowled in his first over for 25 off 19, with the in-form Tamim Iqbal then becoming Afridi's second victim for 24. 

Shakib hits half-century in lost cause for Tigers

The early wickets never really gave Bangladesh a chance of chasing north of 200, and the game was little more than a canter for Pakistan during the last ten overs of the match.

Mahmudullah couldn't get going, and lost his wicket for just four off the bowling of Imad Wasim as Bangladesh slumped to 71-4.

Mushfiqur Rahim (18) and Shakib Al Hasan (50*) put on a parnership of 39, but the Tigers got nowhere near Pakistan's 201, going down by 55 runs and leaving them up against it for the remainder of the competition.