Pakistan opened their 2016 World T20 campaign with a crushing 55-run win over Bangladesh at Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
Putting security concerns behind them, the 2009 champions put on a clinical display, brushing aside a team who are not to be taken lightly in this format. The victory was set up by powerful innings from Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez and skipper Shahid Afridi, before Mohammad Amir and Afridi weighed in with two wickets apiece to halt the Tigers.
Shehzad wasn’t originally in the squad, but proved his worth up front with 52 off 39 balls, which was backed up by some clean striking from Hafeez (64) and Afridi, booming his 49 off just 19 balls. Soumya Sarkar has already put his hand up as a contender for catch of the tournament when he caught Hafeez on the boundary. The pace bowlers struggled immensely as Pakistan got 201-5.
Bangladesh, who emerged from the preliminary phase unbeaten, were always chasing the game as Amir bowled a peach of a delivery to remove Sarkar’s stumps with the third ball of the innings. From there not a single bowler had an economy rate worse than eight an over, and despite a valiant half-century from Shakib Al Hasan, they fell 55 runs short of the mark.