Afridi steers Pakistan home
Dhaka - Shahid Afridi grabbed five wickets for 23 runs and then kept his cool in a batting crisis as Pakistan overcame Bangladesh by five wickets in the first one-day international here on Thursday.
The leg-spinner ripped through the Bangladesh line-up as the hosts were bowled out for 91 after electing to bat at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium - with seven batsmen failing to reach double figures.
Pakistan lost five wickets chasing the modest target which was eventually overhauled in the 26th over to give the tourists the lead in the three-match series.
Seamer Rubel Hossain and spinner Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets apiece to leave Pakistan struggling at 63-5, before Afridi took his team home with an unbeaten 24 off 23 balls.
As the runs dried up on the turning wicket, Afridi broke free with three successive fours off Shakib and then cut the same bowler for another boundary to win the game.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq made 16 not out, sharing a match-winning stand of 30 with Afridi.
It was Pakistan's 26th win in 27 one-dayers against Bangladesh, the lone defeat having come during the 1999 World Cup in England.
Bangladesh, who lost half their side for 31 runs on the slow wicket, were dismissed in 30.3 overs and barely managed to surpass their lowest one-day total against Pakistan of 87.
Wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed picked up four catches as the four Pakistani spinners shared eight of the 10 wickets.
Bangladesh's batting never recovered after losing opener Tamim Iqbal with the fourth ball of the innings, trapped leg-before by off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez.
Seamer Umar Gul, who shared the new ball with the spinner, struck in his third over when he forced Naeem Islam to edge a catch to Misbah in the slips.
Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was caught behind off Shoaib Malik for 11, before Afridi grabbed two wickets in one over to reduce the Tigers to 31-5.
Afridi had opener Shahriar Nafees caught at backward point by Malik and then saw Mohammad Mahmudullah edge a catch to Sarfraz three balls later.
Nasir Hossain and Shakib put on 36 for the sixth wicket to ensure Bangladesh surpassed their lowest ever one-day total of 58 - against the West Indies at the same venue during the World Cup in March.
Nasir made 21 with two boundaries when he top-edged a catch off Aizaz Cheema, while Shakib became Afridi's third victim after scoring 15.
Last man Rubel Hossain hit an unbeaten 15 before Afridi claimed the final two wickets to terminate the innings.
The second one-dayer will be played at the same venue on Saturday.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Naeem Islam, Shahriar Nafees, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Farhad Reza, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema