Pakistan’s superb run chase against Bangladesh to progress from the group stage of the ICC World Twenty20 this week proves they have all the credentials to lift the trophy for a second time.
Mohammad Hafeez’s side went into the clash in Pallekele knowing victory would secure safe passage to the Super Eights stage of the tournament after they beat New Zealand by 13 runs earlier in the week; and they will be confident of progressing further following two dominant batting displays.
For although Pakistan’s bowling attack may be of concern, they have nothing to fear at the crease. While Bangladesh offered tough opposition – rocketing to a 175-6 total after their 20 overs – they could not smother the batting prowess of Imran Nazir and his captain, who put on a real display for the Sri Lankan crowd and those who opted to watch cricket online.
Nazir was superfluous with the bat in hand, cantering to the fastest fifty of the tournament in just 25 deliveries while Hafeez put on a solid captain’s display of 45 as Pakistan chased down a large score. The innings reflected their opening display against New Zealand where both Hafeez and NasirJamshed (56) swept aside a weak Black Caps attack.
Hafeez will have slight worries heading into the Super Eights that his bowlers appear unable to rock opponents early and so rely on their higher order to get them out of trouble. When Pakistan face South Africa (always hot favourites in the cricket bets) and India next week they will come up against a far tougher test than they have done so far.
Yet these two results prove Hafeez’s side have the momentum over anyone else and after escaping arguably the most challenging group stage should go forward to contend for World Cup glory.