Saqibul Spins Out Pakistan

A combination of an assured knock from Mushfiqur Rahim and penetrative spin-bowling saw Bangladesh firmly cement their billing as one of the tournament’s favourite with a four-wicket victory over Pakistan. Openers Nasir Jamshed and Ali Khan feasted on some wayward early Tigers’ seam bowling, but with the introduction of 18-year-old Saqibul Hasan fell three rapid wickets, with several loose shots being the batsmen’s downfall. Saqibul finished with four for 34, fellow left-arm-spinners Suhrawadi Shuvro and Mehrab Hossain jnr a pair of wickets each, as the Pakistanis lost all ten wickets for 104, leaving 6.5 overs unused. Only Ali Asad, who ground out 38, offered much resistance to the spinners.

In reply the Bangladeshis also started out positively, with Tamim Iqbal and Raqibul Hasan leading the charge to their modest target off 171. But both threw away promising starts to Jamshed Ahmed, as did the fluid Saqibul (run out), and the Bangladeshis soon found themselves tottering at 88 for four. However Rahim, bolstered by the experience of a Test debut at Lord’s, anchored the innings in a classic role, demonstrating maturity beyond his 17 tender years. Driving serenely, he forged useful partnerships with Mehrab and Medhi Hasan, before falling fractionally short of the finishing post for 46 (55 balls, 7 fours, 1 six), as Bangladesh cruised into the Super League with over 15 overs to spare, with the Pakistanis left to squabble with New Zealand for the final Group A qualification spot.

Group A, Nondescripts CC, Colombo
Pakistan 170 all out (43.1) Saqibul Hasan 4 for 34
Bangladesh 171 for 7 (34.5)
Bangladesh won by 3 wickets

A dramatic West Indies collapse saw victory slip from their clutches as the Australians grabbed a last-gasp victory in Colombo. With 252 required for the win, the West Indies were ideally placed at 192 for three before a clatter of wickets brought their run-chase to a grinding halt. William Perkins, who smashed a hundred against the USA, and Sharmarh Brookes gave the West Indies set the West Indies off to a whirlwind start, before they were gradually clawed back to 107 for three by some accurate bowling from medium-pacer Simon Keen and spinner Jack McNamara. A further steady partnership, between Jason Mohammed and Gajanand Singh appeared to have clinched the West Indies a guaranteed passage through to the Super League, but five wickets then tumbled for just 18 runs, and despite the desperate attempts of the lower order, they still finished 13 runs short of the Australian total. Both Keen and Moises Henriques ended with three wickets.

Usman Khawaja had earlier dominated the Australian innings, compiling a solid 77, while there were also useful contributions from Tom Stray, Henriques and Aaron Finch. Perkins made six dismissals, including two stumpings of Sunil Narine, and Kemar Roach mopped up the tail, taking 3 for 30.

Group B, Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Australia 251 all out (47.5) Usman Khawaja 77; Kemar Roach 3 for 30
West Indies 238 all out (48) Jason Mohammed 57; Moises Henriques 3 for 32, Simon Keen 3 for 46
Australia won by 13 runs

India predictably crippled Scotland by eight wickets, bowling the minnows out for 112, and then sealing their Super League place with some emphatic batting. Abu Nechim Ahmed, using a canny mixture of swing and seam, was the main nemesis of the Scottish batsman, taking four wickets, while talented leg-spinner Piyush Chawla snared two victims. After sliding to 49 for six, Scott MacLennnan, and Aamir Mahmood, 25 and 32 not out respectively, provided some cheer for the Scottish fans, taking the score past 100, but the result was never in doubt. Cheteshwar Pujara, who ended three short of a fifty, and Ravikant Shukla, who struck 45, finished the job, and the favourites, despite not having met a major nation yet, look firmly on track for the title.

Group C, R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Scotland 112 all out (40.3) Abu Nechim Ahmed 4 for 25
India 112 for 2 (19)
India won by 8 wickets

England had to endure their second scare of the week before clinching a tight four-run victory against Ireland. Just as it had done against Nepal on Monday, the England batting underperformed, as Niall McDarby, a rare genuine Irish fast bowler, ripped into the top order and reduced the Test nation to 48 for four. Rory Hamilton-Brown and Ben Wright both then made counterattacking fifties, and England scraped together a respectable score before McDarby returned to polish off the tail, completing a six-wicket haul. Ireland also had to recover from a wretched start as Huw Waters struck with the second ball of the innings, before captain Eoin Morgan rebuilt the innings with a steady 28. Gary Wilson’s 69 should have been enough for an Irish triumph, but the final five wickets, three of which to Steven Mullaney, fell for just 30 runs. England have finalised their Super League position, but will need to produce much better form if they wish to progress further in the tournament.

Group D, Colombo CC, Colombo
England 214 all out (49.4) Rory Hamilton-Brown 55, Ben Wright 50; Niall McDarby 6 for 50
Ireland 210 all out (50) Gary Wilson 69; Steven Mullaney 3 for 33
England won by 4 runs

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