Bangladesh booked their passage in the Asia Cup final and a showdown with India on Friday in Dubai after knocking out Pakistan by 37 runs at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Electing to bat first on a typically hot afternoon, Bangladesh recovered from 12-3, courtesy of a stand of 144 for the fourth wicket between Mushfiqur Rahman (99) and Mohammed Mithun (60), to put up 239 on the board.
Pakistan did not fare better when they began the chase under lights. They too were left struggling at 18-3 but unlike the Bangladesh middle order, they failed to fire under pressure and ended up falling short on 202-9.
The Bangladesh spinner Mehdy Hasan got rid of Fakhar Zaman in the very first over. Mustafizur Rahman struck twice in his first two overs before the left-arm seamer returned with a four-wicket haul.
Imam-ul-Haq, who waged a lone battle for a top score of 83, and Shoaib Malik put on 67 before the latter fell on 30 to a spectacular catch from Mashrafe Mortaza at short mid-wicket off Rubel Hossain to leave Pakistan in trouble again at 85-4.
Shadab Khan promoted in order fell nine runs later but Imam and Asif Ali took added 71 but they both fell in quick succession to leave Pakistan at 167-7 for the Bangladesh fans to begin their celebrations.
For Bangladesh, Mushfiqur and Mithun came to their team’s rescue for the second time in the competition. They shared a 144-run partnership in 122 balls to give their bowlers enough runs to defend.
Mithun fell for 60 and Mushfiqur was sixth out one run short of a richly-deserved century, snapped up by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed off left arm pacer Shaheen Afridi.
Junaid Khan replacing Mohammed Amir was the pick of the Pakistan bowling. The left arm seamer struck twice in two overs and finished with excellent figures of 9-1-19-4.
Friday’s final starts at 3.30pm with Bangladesh hoping it is third time lucky having lost their previous two appearances in the tournament finale.