Mushfiqur, Mithun lift Bangladesh to 239 after dismal start
Abu Dhabi, Sep 26 (PTI) Mushfiqur Rahim scored his career's 30th half-century, while Mohammad Mithun made 60 to lift Bangladesh to a decent 239 all out against Pakistan in the final Super Four match of the Asia Cup here Wednesday.
Mushfiqur (99) fell one short of what could have been his seventh ODI century but by then he had rescued Bangladesh with a 144-run fourth wicket stand with Mithun after they were reduced to 12 for three inside five overs.
For Pakistan, comeback man Junaid Khan shone with the ball, registering impressive figures of four for 19 from his nine overs.
Opting to bat first in the virtual semifinal, Bangladesh were off to a horrendous start as they lost their first three wickets with the scoreboard reading just 12 in 4.2 overs.
Left-arm pacer Junaid did the early damage, removing openers Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar in his consecutive overs.
One-down Mominul Haque failed once again as he was cleaned up by young left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi (2/47) in the fourth over.
But Bangladesh's go to man in crisis situations, Mushfiqur once again came to his side's rescue and in Mithun's company first stabilised the rocking ship and in the process brought up the century stand in 176 deliveries.
In dire need of a partnership, the duo started cautiously and grew in confidence as the match progressed.
Both Mushfiqur and Mithun punished the bad deliveries that came their way.
But just when the partnership was looking dangerous, Pakistan got the vital breakthrough in the form of Mithun who was caught by Hasan Ali (2/60) off his own bowling in the 35th over.
Mithun's second fifty of his career came off 84 balls with the help of just four boundaries.
Imrul Kayes (9) looked shaky from the onset and didn't last long, falling LBW to leg-spinner Shadab Khan (1/52).
The diminutive Mushfiqur, however, went about his business with a calm head and looked set for a well-deserved century but luck was not on his side as he sneaked a good length delivery from Afridi to Sarfraz Ahmed just one short of the three-figure mark.
Mushfiqur scored his runs off 116 balls with the help of nine fours.
Towards the end Mahmudullah (25) and skipper Mashrafe Mortaza tried to use their long handle to maximum effect to take Bangladesh beyond the 250-run mark but they eventually fell 20 runs short of what could have been a winning score.
With experienced Shakib Al Hasan not in the playing eleven, it might turn out to be a tough task for Bangladesh to put the brakes in the middle-overs