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Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Saturday, 1 May 2010 22:00 UK

Champions Pakistan beat Bangladesh at World Twenty20

ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia:
Pakistan 172-3 (20 overs) beat Bangladesh 151-7 (20 overs) by 21 runs
Match scorecard

Kamran Akmal (left) and Salman Butt
Akmal and Butt's superb opening stand took the game away from Bangladesh

By Harry Reekie

Defending champions Pakistan put their off-field problems to one side with a 21-run win against Bangladesh in their first match of the ICC World Twenty20.

Kamran Akmal (73) and Salman Butt (73) were the stars for Pakistan, putting on 142 for the opening wicket to set up an imposing total of 172-3 in St Lucia.

Bangladesh lost Tamim Iqbal early but Mohammad Ashraful (65) and Shakib Al Hasan (47) raised hopes of a fightback.

But the Tigers finally ran out of steam as Pakistan held on for an opening win.

Ashraful and Shakib's stand aside, it was an excellent all-round display from Shahid Afridi's side - all the more impressive considering the turmoil the team has gone through since winning the tournament at Lord's last year.

606: DEBATE

Experienced batsmen Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf were banned indefinitely following the tour to Australia this winter, while ex-skipper Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved have been suspended for a year.

The Akmal brothers, Kamran and Umar, along with Afridi, were also fined by the Pakistan Cricket Board after that tour but firmly put their grievances to one side in the West Indian sunshine on Saturday.

Bangladesh were under-par with the ball - just as they had been throughout England's successful tour to the subcontinent earlier this year - and are still without a win in this format since the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in 2007.

Indeed, with their opponents in this kind of form, it is hard to imagine a victory for the Tigers was ever realistic.

"They played very well, it was very mature cricket but I knew I had a few overs from pacers such as Sami and Aamer so I was totally confident," said Afridi.

We didn't start well with the ball and we didn't start well with the bat

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh captain Shakib admitted his side had paid the price for poor early overs in both innings.

"We didn't start well with the ball and we didn't start well with the bat. In the shorter version of game it's very hard to come back if you don't start well," he said.

"Fifty runs in five overs, that was chaseable. If either of us had stayed in until the 20th over, it could have been a different game."

So often the chalk and cheese of international cricket, Pakistan regularly turn in fine displays when they are not predicted and, right from the first ball, this was no exception.

Butt and Akmal were in destructive mood after Afridi's decision to bat first, clubbing the Bangladesh bowlers to all corners of the picturesque Gros Islet stadium.

Butt was particularly savage on anything short as the score raced to 80-0 after 10 overs, with Shakib struggling to contain the run rate.

Akmal was equally explosive at the other end, reaching his half century off 43 balls.

With a clutch of big hitters twiddling their thumbs in the Pakistan dugout, the pair noticeably upped the ante after passing 100, taking more and more risks as the Bangladesh bowlers continued to toil.

Mohammad Ashraful
Ashraful's brilliant knock breathed life into Bangladesh's innings

Akmal was in no mood to give his wicket away though and continued to pummel the Tigers' attack, with one six over cover off Mashrafe Mortaza symbolising the free spirit of the Pakistan batsmen.

The wicketkeeper was eventually caught at point going for another crunching drive off Shakib but thankfully for Bangladesh, Afridi failed to capitalise and was caught cheaply at gully for nine.

Butt was bowled late on by Shafiul Islam going for a cheeky reverse scoop but Pakistan still cruised to an extremely competitive total.

Bangladesh needed a fast start to their innings but their hopes were dashed when Imrul Kayes top-edged to Misbah-ul-Haq in the first over for a duck and when dangerman Tamim (19) was caught and bowled by Mohammad Hafeez, victory seemed impossible.

Ashraful and Shakib had other ideas and quickly had the Pakistan team sweating courtesy of a blistering stand of 91 which saw the ball travelling to all parts of the ground.

Both set about the spinners in merciless fashion and looked to be fighting their way back into the match until Shakib was caught in the deep just short of his half-century.

Ashraful edged behind shortly after, finally ending the Bangladesh resistance, as Pakistan set themselves up for an exciting clash with Australia on Sunday.



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see also
India outclass brave Afghanistan
01 May 10 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 day two photos
01 May 10 |  Cricket
Jonathan Agnew column
29 Apr 10 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 teams guide
28 Apr 10 |  Cricket
First two World Twenty20s in photos
26 Apr 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2010
17 May 10 |  Cricket


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