Pakistan keep World Cup hopes alive, Bangladesh win thriller

Pakistan kept their T20 World Cup semi-final hopes alive Sunday by cruising to a first win of the tournament while Bangladesh got their challenge back on track by holding off Zimbabwe in a thriller.

Pakistan hammered the Netherlands by six wickets in Perth, reaching their target of 92 off just 13.5 overs to boost their net run rate, crucial in a tight Group 2.

Pakistan restricted the Netherlands to 91-9, and then cruised to 95-4 with Mohammad Rizwan making 49.

Pakistan need to win their remaining matches against South Africa on Thursday and Bangladesh in a week’s time and need other results to go their way to have any chance of securing a semi-final place.

“Very happy. Performed very well in the bowling and in the batting,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.

“In my opinion we could chase better than this. But a win always gives you confidence. We’ll try to do our best in the next matches and win.”

It was the bowlers who set up victory for a Pakistan side that lost their opening Super 12 match to India and then suffered an upset defeat to Zimbabwe.

Man of the match Shadab Khan took 3-22 as Pakistan dominated a Dutch side who are now out of the semi-final running after a third straight defeat.

“I have bowled against a few of their players in county cricket, so I know how they play,” said Shadab.

“All our bowlers bowled well. The fast bowlers put pressure on in the powerplay, and I took wickets because of the pressure that built.”

Last-ball drama

Earlier in Brisbane, Bangladesh secured a dramatic last-ball win over Zimbabwe, aided by opener Najmul Shanto’s maiden half-century and Taskin Ahmed’s three wickets.

Shanto’s 71 helped steer Bangladesh to 150-7 in a match that went to the wire with Zimbabwe needing 16 off a last over that turned into an incredible finale.

Two wickets fell, a big six was hit before the teams walked off thinking the match was over, only to be called back on the field.

Bangladesh believed they had won when Blessing Muzarabani, needing five to win, was stumped trying to hit a six off the last ball.

The fielding team celebrated as the players shook hands and left the field.

But a review showed wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan had taken the ball in front of the stumps, which is illegal, and therefore a no-ball.

The teams had to return for a free hit with four needed to win, but Muzarabani swung and missed again leaving Zimbabwe short on 147-8.

“It’s a totally new experience for us, but we knew we could do well in this pressure situation,” said Shanto.

“Honestly, it was a little bit nervous, but we believed we could do it.

“For me, it was my best innings. And everyone bowled well, we all supported each other.”

Man-of-the-match Ahmed, who took 3-19, added that “I’ve seen something like that for the first time”, referring to the last-ball drama.

Victory pushed Bangladesh to four points in Group 2 with two games remaining, level with India who face South Africa, who have three points, in Perth later Sunday.

Then come Zimbabwe on three, Pakistan on two with the Netherlands in the basement with no points after three games.

Only the top two in the group will qualify for the semi-finals.

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