Babar, Hafeez shine as Pakistan clinch T20I series against Bangladesh

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Pakistan walked over Bangladesh in the second Twenty20 International (T20I), of the three-match series, on Saturday courtesy a second-wicket unbeaten partnership between captain Babar Azam and veteran batsman Mohammad Hafeez at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. This is Pakistan’s first T20I series victory since October 2018.

Pakistan, who chased their way to victory in the first T20I, were once again asked to pursue a target set by a visiting Bangladesh side.

Babar, who was out for naught in the first T20I, regained his mojo with a well-struck 66 off just 44 balls courtesy seven fours and one six.

He lost his opening partner Ahsan Ali (naught off seven balls) in the second over. Shafiul Islam dismissed the young opener as fielder Mahmudullah took the catch.

However, Babar didn’t find himself fighting the battle alone as veteran Hafeez came to the centre with victory on his mind.

The two batted through till the 17th over to conjure a 131-run partnership as Pakistan gained an unassailable 2-nil advantage in the three-match T20I series.

Hafeez scored 67 off 49 balls and struck nine boundaries in the process with one maximum as well.

Bangladesh tried seven different bowlers in order to break the second-wicket partnership but to no avail.

Earlier, Bangladesh opted to bat first thinking that if they can score past 150, they can put Pakistan in trouble like the first T20I, where Pakistan chased a 140-odd runs target in the final over of the match.

Their plan was followed by opener Tamim Iqbal who scored 65 off 53 balls, but no other batsman was able to contribute heaps of runs to the team’s total. Batsman Afif Hossain and captain Mahmudullah were the only other batsmen apart from Tamim who entered double figures.

Afif scored 21 off 20 balls while Mahmudullah managed a run-a-ball 12.

For Pakistan fast-bowler Muhammad Husnain bagged two wicket in four overs for only 20 runs. Other wicket-takers included fast-bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi (4-22-1), Haris Rauf (4-27-1) and leg-spinner Shadab Khan (3-28-1).

Both team will now play the third and final T20I at the same venue, in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.

Bangladesh will then leave the country, but come back again to play the first Test of the scheduled tour in Rawalpindi.

They will depart once again only to return again after the fifth edition of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) to play one-off ODI and the second Test in Karachi.

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