All-round Gul gives Pakistan winning start

Bangladesh

Umar Gul produced a superb all-round performance as Pakistan got their Asia Cup campaign off to a winning start with 21-run victory over hosts Bangladesh on Sunday.

Umar Gul produced a superb all-round performance as Pakistan got their Asia Cup campaign off to a winning start with 21-run victory over hosts Bangladesh on Sunday.

Gul smashed 39 at the bottom of the order for Pakistan who suffered a mini-collapse, but still posted a respectable 262 for eight after being asked to bat. In reply, Bangladesh were always in the hunt, but stumbled in the penultimate over when former skipper Shakib Al Hasan was bowled by Gul.

Earlier Mohammad Hafeez led the charge with the bat to help Pakistan get off to a solid start in Mirpur. The opener carved his way to 89 and put on 135 for the opening wicket with the returning Nasir Jamshed before losing seven for 63 in a collapse.

Jamshed made the most of his return and accumulated his way to 52 before he was run out by former Bangladesh captain Al Hasan.

It was Al Hasan along with fast bowler, Shahadat Hossain who inflicted the most damage on the Pakistani middle order. Younis Khan (12) and Umar Akmla (21) threatened in their short vigils, but as they were both caught by Abdur Razzak off Hossain and Al Hasan respectively there was little to follow from the coming batsmen.

Asad Shafiq, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi who failed to reach three figures, but a late blast of 39 off 25 balls from Umar Gul still managed to get the Pakistanis to the competitive total.

In pursuit, Bangladesh got off to a slow start with Tamim Iqbal and Nazimuddin putting on 45 as they acclimatised to the slow pitch. The latter was first man out when he holed out to Gul off Aizaz Cheema for 30.

Jahurul Islam (23) and Mushfiqur Rahim (three) weren't able to add much value to the innings as both were bowled by the ever-threatening Shahid Afridi.

All the while it was Tamim Iqbal (64) who knocked off the runs at the opposite end and recorded his 20th ODI half-century. While Mohammad Mahmudullah could only last one ball as he was trapped lbw to Mohammad Hafeez, it was left for Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain to take the hosts close. Their 89-run stand for the sixth wicket put Bangladesh on course at 224 for six, but following the departure of Hossain for 47, the wickets began to tumble as Saeed Ajmal accounted for Abdur Razzaq and Mashrafe Mortaza in quick success.

Gul returned to the attack for the death overs and proceeded to knock over Shafiul Islam lbw before Al Hasan (64) was bowled in the second last over to give Gul figures of three for 58.

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