Pakistan storm into Super Eights after Nazir's onslaught
Opener Imran Nazir produced the tournament's fastest half-century as Pakistan stormed into the Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 with a crushing eight-wicket victory over Bangladesh, here today.
Needing a win to advance to the next round, Pakistan rode on Nazir's 36-ball 72-run blistering knock and his record 124-run opening stand with skipper Mohammad Hafeez to chase the challenging 176-run target with eight balls to spare, in their final group league encounter.
Nazir reached his fifty in just 25 deliveries, one quicker than Chris Gayle's 26-ball effort against Australia.
In the crucial encounter, Bangladesh needed to win by a margin of at least 36 runs, but their bowlers came a cropper in the face of Nazir's sustained onslaught.
During his belligerent knock, Nazir struck three sixes and nine fours that left the Bangladeshis shell-shocked, as they had given themselves a chance by posting a competitive total.
Nazir was ably supported by Hafeez (45 off 47 balls) as they produced the tournament's highest partnership for any wicket.
The Pakistan show meant that Shakib Al Hasan's brilliant 54-ball 84 went in vain.
Electing to bat, Bangladesh rode on Shakib's heroics and some fine contributions from opener Tamim Iqbal (24) and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (25) to post their highest score against Pakistan in T20 internationals.
But their joy was short-lived as Pakistan's chase got off to a flying start with Nazir and Hafeez clobbering the Bangladesh bowlers all around the park.
Nazir cashed in on a dropped chance in the second over and treated the opposition bowlers with disdain to take his side to 64 without loss at the end of the mandatory powerplay.
Nazir, who was dropped by Abul Hassan at mid-on off medium-pacer Shafiul Islam, made Bangladesh pay a heavy price as he picked Islam and Mashrafe Mortaza for a six each to keep the asking run-rate well under control.