Imran Nazir came to the fore for Pakistan as they became the final team to qualify for the World Twenty20 Super Eights with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh here yesterday.
Pakistan could afford to be defeated by 35 runs or fewer to make it through to the next stage, and knock out their opponents and there were perhaps some doubts when Bangladesh piled up 175 for 6. Pakistan had to make a minimum 140 to progress on run rate – even in defeat. But Nazir (72) made a nonsense of those concerns, with the fastest half-century in this tournament – from just 25 balls.
Bangladesh, without a win against Pakistan in any format since their shock 1999 World Cup success, appeared to have been given a chance by Shakib Al Hasan's boundary-laden 84. But on a batsman's pitch, Nazir hit nine fours and three sixes.
Captain Mohammad Hafeez batted in his first-wicket partner's slipstream in a stand of 124, before both fell in the same over from Hasan.
Super Eight details
Group E England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies
Group F Australia, India, South Africa, Pakistan
Tomorrow's fixtures (both Pallekele)
Sri Lanka v New Zealand (11am) England v West Indies (3pm)