Fargana Hoque's half-century laid the foundation for Bangladesh's win. © PCB

Bangladesh held their nerve to win a thrilling match against Pakistan in the second ODI at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Monday (November 4) to level the two-match series 1-1. The game went right down to the wire with Jahanara Alam and Nahida Akhter having to scamper the last few runs to get their team over the line off the penultimate ball of the match by one-wicket.

The chase of 211 was set up by Fargana Hoque (67) and Murshida Khatun (44). The duo strung together a vital 82-run stand for the third wicket to help lay a solid foundation. Rumana Ahmed, too, made a valuable contribution, backing up her haul of 3 for 35 with a vital 31 at number five.

With the series on the line the home team handed Syeda Aroob Shah, the 15-year-old leg-spinner, her maiden cap. Pakistan won the toss and elected the bat first on a used pitch. Their openers, Javeria Khan and Nahida Khan, were aggressive from the start and looked to take on the bowlers. Javeria, playing her 100th ODI, pounced on anything short, slapping the ball through point and square leg to collect three boundaries.

Rumana brought herself on and immediately struck by dismissing Javeria for 24. The right-hander was looking to go over the top but found the fielder at mid-on who took an easy catch.  The wicket of Javeria brought Bismah Maroof the skipper to the crease and rund continued to come at a good clip. Bangladesh had a chance in the 18th over to run Nahida out but Salma Khatun’s wayward throw ensured the batter was eventually safe at the non-striker’s end.

Nahida brought up her fifty off just 65 balls with a glorious four over long-on, soon after which she was dropped at mid-on. The opener, however, failed to make full use of the opportunity, becoming Rumana’s second victim when on 63. Two wickets soon became three when Omaima Sohail played all over a quicker delivery and was cleaned up. Bangladesh were able to then keep the rate in check as Nahida Akter and Salma Khatun applied the choke.

Bangladesh came back well to restrict Pakistan. © PCB

Bangladesh came back well to restrict Pakistan to 210. © PCB

Meanwhile, Maroof, in pursuit of some quick runs, was caught comfortably at deep mid-wicket on 34 off Salma. The off-spinner struck again, when Iram Javed failed to pick her arm ball. Pakistan had lost their fifth wicket in the 37th over.

Bangladesh’s bowlers continued to apply dot ball pressure as the batters struggled to rotate strike. Aliya Riaz played an uncharacteristically slow inning – 36 off 68 balls. The accumulation of dot balls resulted in pressure mounting from all sides. This resulted in a bit of an implosion with four of the last five wickets falling to run outs.

Pakistan were eventually all out for 210 in 48.4 overs – the second time they failed to play out their 50 overs. They lost their last five wickets for 28 runs.

Chasing 211 Bangladesh batter Sharmim Sultana offered a chance on 14 but Nahida Khan failed to latch on to the catch at first slip. Murshida Khatun at the other end struggled for timing and failed to rotate the strike. Pakistan finally had the wicket of Sharmin for 21 – caught smartly by Riaz at mid-off. Soon one wicket brought another as Sana Mir stuck to send Nigar Sultana – trapped plumb in front – for a duck.

Fargana joined Murshida in the middle and duo started to resurrect the innings. The duo shared an important 82-run stand for the third wicket to give their team some hope. They brought the equation down to 100 runs required off 144 balls before  the latter was meekly caught and bowled by Maroof.

 

 

Meanwhile, Hoque registered her sixth fifty in 75 balls as Bangladesh inched towards a historic win. In the company of Rumana she reduced the equation even further almost sealing Pakistan’s fate.

That, however, was the moment that Nashra Sandhu chose to step up and remove Rumana for 31. The pair had, by then, shared a 55-run stand that took Bangladesh ever closer. The captain’s dismissal, however, triggered a bit of a collapse.

With the visitors needing 35 runs from 60 balls, Sanjida Islam came to the crease. The right-hander looked in a bit of a hurry to finish the game – slogging every second delivery towards mid-wicket or square leg.

Hoque was the first to go, caught on the boundary for 67 – she became young Aroob’s first ODI wicket. Salma fell to Maroof before Sanjida was brilliantly caught by Riaz at mid-on while trying to slog a wide delivery to mid-wicket.

At that point, the equation read 16 off 23. A series of run outs saw the back of Fahima Khatun and Panna Ghosh leaving Bangladesh needing six runs in nine balls with one wicket to spare. Mir successfully closed out the penultimate over, leaving Maroof with three runs to defend.

In stark contrast to the rest of the line up, the tenth wicket pair of Bangladesh kept their heads and simply knocked the ball around to tick off the required three runs.

Bangladesh thus chased down their highest ever total in ODIs – 211 – to complete a historic one-wicket win.

 

Brief scores: Pakistan 210 in 48.4 overs (Nahida Khan 63, Aliya Riaz 36; Rumana Ahmed 3-35, Salma Khatun 2-35) lost to Bangladesh 211 for nine in 49.5 overs (Fargana Hoque 67, Murshida Khatun 44; Syeda Aroob Shah 2-37, Bismah Maroof 2-24) by one wicket. PoM: Fargana Hoque. PoS: Nahida Khan and Fargana Hoque.

Live report recap here.