On Thursday, Pakistan’s 7-wicket triumph against Bangladesh served as a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s tri-series final against hosts New Zealand. Nawaz clinched with his last ball of the game. Litton Das, who played bravely despite suffering an early leg strain, and captain Shakib Al Hasan both scored fifty runs for Bangladesh in Christchurch, giving Pakistan a target of 174 runs to win. As a result of all-rounder Nawaz’s match-changing performance of 45 runs off only 20 balls, Pakistan had to battle hard for victory.
Bangladesh, however, will be eliminated after losing all four of its games. The match’s MVP, Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, gave credit where credit was due and paid appreciation to Nawaz. While Rizwan was the top scorer with 69 runs off 56 balls, he credited Mohammad Nawaz for making things simple in the end.
Tri-series: Nawaz helps Pakistan beat Bangladesh in the T20 series
Nawaz scored eight runs off the penultimate over by hitting three doubles and a four caught in the gap between point and short third-man. The tri-series was a tune-up for the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. And the final will be played on Friday, with Pakistan taking against hosts New Zealand.
The tide turned during Nawaz’s innings. While the victory bolsters morale, New Zealand will be playing at home. Despite receiving treatment for early thigh pain, Bangladesh’s opening batter, Das, performed spirited. Das dug in with a brilliant 69 off 42 balls, hitting six fours and two sixes all around Hagley Oval. In contrast, his opening partner Najmul Hossain Shanto and Soumya Sarkar were caught early on.
Even after Mohammad Wasim caught Das, Shakib Al Hasan kept the scoreboard moving with 68 runs in 42 balls. Rizwan and Babar Azam, the Pakistani opening pair, put on 101 runs in response. Azam was caught in the 12th over after he had scored 55 runs off of 40 balls. Then, Hasan Mahmud bowled out Haider Ali lbw for a duck.
Pakistan was under duress at 101-2. However, Nawaz wrested control of the match from Bangladesh with a sensational four, a six, and another four off three successive balls in the 15th over. When Rizwan was finally captured in deep cover, Bangladesh had taken the game to the very last moment.
Nawaz, though, retained his calm and led Pakistan to victory. “It’s been tough, but we played our best game today,” remarked a disheartened Bangladesh captain, Shakib al Hasan.
Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Litton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Hasan Mahmud, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, Yasir Ali, Nurul Hasan, Afif Hossain
Pakistan: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Shan Masood, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed