Pakistan claim Asia Cup glory

Bangladesh

Thursday's final in Dhaka proved a bridge too far for a brave Bangladeshi unit, whose highs after victory over India and Sri Lanka took a back seat to the lows of defeat against 2012 Asia Cup champions Pakistan.

Thursday's final in Dhaka proved a bridge too far for a brave Bangladeshi unit, whose highs after victory over India and Sri Lanka took a back seat to the lows of defeat against 2012 Asia Cup champions Pakistan.

Chasing a reasonable 236-run target, the hosts fell two runs short as tail-ender Shahadat Hossain only managed to secure a leg-bye when a boundary was needed.

The disappointment in the Bangladeshi camp was palpable. A solid performance with the ball had been laid to waste by an inadequate showing with the bat. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim was left in tears of sadness as the token post-match plaudits were dished out.

So near, yet so far, the tenacious Tigers at least proved – once an for all – that they are no longer the whipping boys of international cricket. That 'minnows' tag that has dogged them for so long must now be resigned to the trash can.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, true to form, were the top-scorers in the chase. The opener welcomed his fourth consecutive ODI half-century en route to 60, while the former captain fitted in across a fluid 68.

The economy of Shahid Afridi, who cost a mere 28 runs in his 10 overs, and Saeed Ajmal's dismissal of Jaharul Islam for a duck and the threatening Mashrafe Mortaza for 18, though, was ultimately for the home side to overcome.

Nasir Hossain, meanwhile, must be questioned for the sluggish nature in which he accrued just 28 runs from 63 deliveries. While the sheet anchor role was required through the middle overs, the extent of the right-hander's pedestrianism was largely uncalled for.

Rahim, Mortaza and Mohammad Mahmudullah kept their side in the hunt through the closing throes of the cliffhanger, and were certainly aided by a rather uncharacteristically expensive over from Umar Gul.

The seamer, though, struck back with a string of blockhole deliveries in the penultimate over of the clash. His miserly approach left Aizaz Cheema eight runs to work with in the final over. He only needed six.

Earlier Bangladesh restricted Pakistan to 236 for nine, but will be the first to admit that their target should have weighed in at considerably less.

While Pakistan's top- through middle-order endured a collective failure, batsmen seven through 11 secured 95 runs as presumption got the better of the hosts.

Having reduced the opposition to 70 for four and then 133 for six, Bangladesh inexplicably eased their intensity as Afridi and Sarfraz Ahmed struck back for the visitors.

Afridi's cameo of 32 from 22 balls, fours boundaries and a six included, allowed Ahmed the impetus he needed before the arrival of the tail-enders.

The wicketkeeper-batsman shepherded Gul through a 21-runs stand for the eighth wicket before the 10th wicket brought an unbroken 30-run alliance from just four overs.

Shahadat Hossain, returned to the attack for the final over of the innings, coughed up a couple of rogue no-balls as Ahmed romped to 46 not out – his highest ODI score – and Cheema finished on nine not out.

Afridi was named Man of the Match, while Shakib was mildly consoled by the Player of the Tournament award.

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