Pakistan waste no time in defending title

Pakistan 172-3 Bangladesh 151-7 (Pakistan win by 21 runs)
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The Independent Online

Pakistan began the defence of their World Twenty20 title with a 21-run victory over Bangladesh here in St Lucia. Openers Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal set up the victory as they both hit 73 to help Pakistan to an imposing 172 for 3.

That proved too much for the Tigers despite a spirited chase. Mohammad Ashraful (65) and captain Shakib Al Hasan (47) had threatened to cause an upset while they combined in a 91-run stand for the third wicket, but once they fell the chase disintegrated.

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami was the pick of the bowlers as he returned figures of 3 for 29, including the key wicket of Shakib to end his stand with Ashraful.

Salman and Kamran had earlier put on 142 from just 95 balls for Pakistan's first wicket. Butt was first to his half-century when, after clubbing Suhrawadi Shuvo over the midwicket fence, he brought up the 100-run stand.

Kamran was celebrating his fifty two balls later with a straight drive to the ropes, but his innings came to an end when he miscued a full toss from Shakib to point. His 73 came off 55 balls with eight fours and a six.

The captain Shahid Afridi elevated himself up the order but he came and went for just nine, and Salman followed in the penultimate over when he missed a reverse paddle sweep and was bowled by Shafiul Islam. His rapid contribution included eight fours and two sixes and took 46 balls.

Bangladesh's chase started badly when Imrul Kayes fell for a duck in the first over, top-edging Mohammad Aamer to Misbah-ul-Haq at short third man. His exciting fellow opener Tamim Iqbal (19) followed when he offered the simplest of return catches to Mohammad Hafeez, but the Tigers stayed in touch with the run-rate thanks to the enterprising stand between Ashraful and Shakib.

The pair batted intelligently and they looked as if they may prove to be match-winners when they took 17 from the 14th over, bowled by Hafeez. Shakib twice cleared the ropes in the over while Ashraful brought up his 50 to leave the Tigers needing 59 from the last six overs.

But Sami then returned to the attack and immediately removed Shakib, caught by Umar Akmal at long-on, before Mahmudullah followed for a duck in the same over.

Ashraful swiped Shahid Afridi's leg spin over the ropes to ensure Pakistan remained nervous, but when he was caught behind off Aamer the Tigers' chase faded on 151 for 7.

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