DHAKA: Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal bowled Pakistan to an exciting 21-run victory with eleven balls to spare in the sensational opening match of the Asia Cup one-day tournament here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Sunday.
Bangladesh, chasing a target of 263, were well set after Shakib Al Hasan (64) and Nasir Hossain (47) added 89 runs for the sixth wicket before Gul and Ajmal derailed their chase and the hosts lost their last five wickets for 17 runs.
The hosts were 224 for five when Gul bowled Nasir to end the partnership and in the next over Ajmal dismissed tailenders Abdur Razzak and Mashrafe Mortaza.
In Gul’s next over, he trapped Shafiul Islam leg before and delivered the final blow when he bowled Shakib to finish with 3-58.
Spinners Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal took two wickets apiece.
Opener Tamim Iqbal laid the foundation for Bangladesh’s run chase with 64 off 89 balls before he dragged a low ball off Mohammad Hafeez on to his stumps.
Hafeez earlier made 89 and shared an opening stand of 135 with Nasir Jamshed (54) as Pakistan made 262-8 from their 50 overs after being put into bat by Bangladesh.
Shahadat Hossain triggered a mid-innings collapse by taking three wickets before Gul thumped a career-best unbeaten 39 with some lusty late blows.
He added 53 vital runs for the eighth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (19 not out) to help Pakistan cross the 250-mark in the day-night match.
India face Sri Lanka in the next game on Tuesday. The final will be held on March 22.