In a refreshing change at the National Stadium in Karachi, the bowlers dominated the proceedings as Bangladesh were skittled for 115 – the lowest score of the tournament. On a pitch offering sideways movement and extra bounce, Abdur Rauf sliced through the top order with three wickets.
Tall and well-built in the tradition of Punjabi fast bowlers, Rauf comes with the Rashid Latif seal of approval and joined the national squads for the series against South Africa and Bangladesh in 2002-03. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that he made his ODI debut, against Zimbabwe. His second outing was against India on Wednesday, when he took a couple of crucial wickets.
He utilised the extra lift in the pitch wonderfully to surprise the Bangladeshi batsmen. Opener Nazimuddin attempted to pull a short delivery in the second over from outside off and only managed to top-edge it to Shoaib Malik at cover.
Mohammad Ashraful and Tamim Iqbal didn't bring out their strokes except when the bowlers erred, but their steady approach lifted Bangladesh to 41 for 2. Ashraful hadn't connected with an attempted hook in the ninth over but got hold of a short one from Rauf in the next to launch it over the midwicket boundary. Rauf's next ball was a fast bowler's classic reply: a snorter aimed at the body which forced Ashraful to give Misbah-ul-Haq a catch at point.
With Bangladesh at a dicey 49 for 3, Rauf came up with the best over of the match. The first ball was a sharp bouncer which Tamim fended to slip, and Alok Kapali barely survived the next five torrid deliveries - a couple of well-directed bouncers, and a mixture of incoming and away-going deliveries.
Rauf’s performance fetched him his first Man-of-the-Match award as Bangladesh couldn’t recover from his early blows and crashed to a ten-wicket defeat.