Pakistan today pulled off a thrilling three-wicket victory over hosts Bangladesh to storm into the finals of the Asia Cup cricket tournament, completely knocking India out of the title race.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad blasted a 123-ball 103 to set the foundation for a record chase but it was Shahid Afridi's blistering 59 off 25 balls which helped Pakistan set up a summit clash against Sri Lanka.
With this victory, Pakistan grabbed four points to aggregate 13 with the help of three victories in four matches. India, on the other hand, are currently with four points and even a win against Afghanistan tomorrow won't be enough for Virat Kohli's men to reach the finals.
Mohammad Hafeez (52) and Fawad Alam (74) too blasted scintillating half-centuries to help Pakistan overhaul Bangladesh's record score of 326 for 3 in their stipulated 50 overs at the Shere Bangla National Stadium here.
For Bangladesh, Mominul Haque (2/37) was the highest wicket taker, while Shakib Al Hasan, Abdur Razzak and Mahmudullah scalped one each.
Earlier, Bangladesh feasted on a below bowling and fielding effort from Pakistan to pile up their highest-ever ODI total of 326 for three.
While opener Anamul Haque build the foundation with a patient 100 off 132 balls with six fours and four sixes, it was their senior-most stars Mushfiqur Rahim (51 no, 33 balls) and Shakib al Hasan (44 no, 16 balls), who finished the innings with a smashing 77-run partnership in only 5.3 overs.
Opener Imrul Kayes (59 from 75 balls; 5x4, 2x6) who added 150 runs for the opening stand with Anamul and Mominul Haque (51 off 47 balls) also made useful contributions to prop up Bangladesh total.
Chasing a mammoth 327 to win, Shehzad laid the foundation with his fifth ODI century as the elegant righthander put on 97 run with Mohammad Hafeez (52) for the opening wicket.
Shehzad started patiently giving Hafeez the most of the strikes as the Pakistani allrounder cruised to his 20th ODI halfcentury from 43 balls.
Pakistan lost the key wickets of Hafeez and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who was bowled by Shakib in successive overs, but Shehzad ensured that they did not lose momentum as he put on another crucial partnership of 105 with Fawad Alam.
Shehzad stepped up the gear scoring 60 runs from 44 balls to notch his fifth ODI century.
After Shehzad's departure, Afridi took the onus on him and whacked seven sixes and two fours to keep Pakistan in the hunt. He came