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‘Leader of the pack’ Rauf leads Pakistan to seven-wicket rout of Bangladesh

Pace bowler Haris Rauf led Pakistan to a seven-wicket rout of Bangladesh in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup in Lahore on Wednesday.

Rauf picked up 4-19 while pace partner Naseem Shah finished with 3-34 to bundle Bangladesh out for 193 runs in 38.4 overs to set up an easy win.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq struck a brilliant 78 and Mohammad Rizwan an unbeaten 63 to help Pakistan chase down the target for the loss of just three wickets in 39.3 overs.

The win gives Pakistan an ideal start ahead of their highly-charged match against India in Colombo on Sunday after the first round group game between the arch-rivals was rained-off as a no result last week.

Haq built the innings after fellow opener Fakhar Zaman (20) and skipper Babar Azam (17) fell early, hitting four sixes and five boundaries in his 84-ball innings.

Haq, who now has 19 ODI half centuries, added 85 for the third wicket with Rizwan before he was bowled by Mehidy Hasan Miraz with just 35 needed for victory.

Rizwan, who hit seven boundaries and a six off 79 balls for his 19th half century, and Agha Salman (12 not out) completed the job with 63 balls remaining.

“I will give credit to all the boys,” said Azam. “We are bowling well and today Haris was the leader of the pack. It’s a very good win.”

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan blamed poor batting for the defeat.

“We lost early wickets in the start and we played some ordinary shots. On a wicket like this we shouldn’t lose four wickets in the first ten overs, but they have three world class bowlers who made that happen,” said Shakib.

Earlier, Pakistan’s pace duo of Rauf and Naseem derailed Bangladesh who won the toss and batted on a flat Gaddafi Stadium pitch.

Mushfiqur Rahim scored 64 for his 46th half-century while Shakib, who hit 53, anchored the innings but once their stand of 100 for the fifth wicket was broken, Bangladesh’s innings faltered.

Shakib fell while hooking medium-fast bowler Faheem Ashraf in the 30th over, caught at the boundary. His dismissal triggered a collapse of six wickets for 46 runs off 58 balls.

Shakib hit seven boundaries in his 53-ball innings while Rahim cracked five boundaries in his 87-ball knock.

The pair had lifted Bangladesh from a precarious 47-4, with Rauf being the chief destroyer at the start of the innings with the wickets of Mohammad Naim (20) and Towhid Hridoy (two).

Naseem had started the slide with the wicket of Miraz for nought.

Rauf returned for his second spell and ended Rahim’s brilliant knock by having the senior batsman caught behind in the 38th over and then got Taskin Ahmed in the same manner for nought.

Naseem wrapped up the innings by dismissing Afif Hossain (12) and Shoriful Islam (one).

Sri Lanka meet Bangladesh in Colombo in the next Super Four game on Saturday.