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The Electronic Telegraph Bangladesh v Pakistan, Group B
Neil Hallam - 31 May 1999

Bangladesh beat the odds to embarrass Pakistan

Bangladesh (223-9) bt Pakistan (161) by 62 runs

The mantle of invincibility which Pakistan wore following four straight wins was torn from their shoulders as Bangladesh completed the biggest shock of this World Cup and claimed their first victory over a Test-playing nation.

Odds of 33-1 were available against a win for Bangladesh and some bookmakers were asking for an 80 stake to win 1 on victory for Pakistan.

It was, indeed, a rather one-sided contest but it was Bangladesh who dominated and Pakistan, already assured of first place in Group B, who looked like a side already packed to fly home.

Only three times previously have Test playing countries lost to associate members of the International Cricket Council in World Cup competition and for shock value this stands second only to Kenya's 73-run victory over the West Indies in 1996.

Sri Lanka, who beat India in 1979, and Zimbabwe, who beat Australia in 1992, were both promoted to full member status soon after these triumphs and Bangladesh's own claim for elevation looked anything but presumptuous as Pakistan, in steep decline at 42 for five, were harassed to their lowest total of the tournament.

Bangladesh's captain, Aminul Islam, said: ``We have applied to play Test cricket and this historic win will boost our chance'', adding that he hoped it would also bring an official public holiday in his country today.

``They had a good day. We were complacent and had a bad one,'' said Pakistan's captain, Wasim Akram. ``Perhaps this will be no bad thing for motivation for the Super Sixes.''

The fact that Pakistan's laggardly over-rate left them with only 49 overs to chase 224 was never a factor as Bangladesh won with 5.4 overs to spare, prompting delirious celebrations among hundreds of supporters who raced on to the pitch before the fall of the final wicket could be confirmed by the third umpire.

Fortunately, television showed that Saqlain Mushtaq had not made his ground, sparing stewards and police the task of clearing the pitch, but Wasim became the latest captain to voice concern about pitch invasions. ``Something has to be done before players are injured by people mobbing them,'' he said.

Pakistan's upper batting again had a thin time on an easy-paced pitch and for once there was no salvation from the lower order after Shahid Afridi miscued to point, Ijaz Ahmed dragged on to his stumps and Saeed Anwar unwisely relied on Inzamam-ul-Haq for a sharp single.

Khaled Mahmud's medium pace, which earned him three for 31 and the man-of-the-match award, did most to embarrass Pakistan and he was one of several batsmen who looked far from overawed against supposed betters.

Shoaib Akhtar was handled with comfort as Shahriar Hossain and Akram gave Bangladesh a solid platform and it was left to Saqlain (five for 35) to impose restraint on a middle order who hit out and ran hard.

Pakistan, confronted with fresh allegations of ball-tampering over the weekend, yesterday dismissed this and renewed speculation about match-fixing investigations as ``blatant attempts to undermine our sterling performances in the World Cup and hamper our progress toward the final''.


Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk