Wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan scored an unbeaten 78 and carried his bat throughout the innings as Pakistan kick-started their campaign in the tri-series in New Zealand with a 21-run win over Bangladesh at the Hagley Oval on Friday.
After Rizwan's belligerent knock laced with seven fours and two sixes took Pakistan to 167/5, pacer Mohammad Wasim Jnr and left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz took three and two wickets respectively to restrict Bangladesh to 146/8 in 20 overs.
Pushed into batting first, Rizwan and captain Babar Azam (22 off 25 balls) added 52 runs for the first wicket in 7.1 overs. The ever-consistent opener, who hit his sixth half-century in last eight T20I innings, then added 42 more runs with Shan Masood, who made 31 off 22 deliveries.
Shan Masood (31 off 22) was Pakistan's other key contributor, as Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali couldn't contribute much to reduce the tension around Pakistan's fragile middle order. Despite this, Pakistan managed to score 51 runs off the last four overs to post a competitive total against Bangladesh, playing without talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
In defence of their total, Pakistan pacers were too hot to handle for the Bangladesh openers in the first six overs. Wasim struck in the fifth over as he dismissed Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 10. In the next over, Sabbir Rahman fell for 14 after a simple caught and bowled dismissal off Haris Rauf.
Litton Das made 35 off 26 balls before Nawaz dismissed him and Mosaddek Hossain on successive deliveries in the 13th over. Afif Hossain made 25 off 23 balls while Yasir Ali top-scored for Bangladesh with 42 not out off 21 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes.
After dismissing Taskin Ahmed and Nasum Ahmed on the first two balls of the penultimate over, Wasim finished with impressive figures of 3/24 while Nawaz returned with figures of 2/25 in a collective bowling performance for Pakistan where all bowlers kept their economy rate below 10 despite a 20-run final over.
Pakistan will be next seen in action when they take on hosts New Zealand tomorrow in the second match of the tri-series.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 167/5 in 20 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 78 not out, Shan Masood 31; Taskin Ahmed 2-25) beat Bangladesh 146/8 in 20 overs (Yasir Ali 42 not out, Litton Das 35; Mohammad Wasim Jnr 3-24, Mohammad Nawaz 2-25) by 21 runs.