Playing in Pakistan after a gap of 12 years was a historic moment for Bangladesh as cricket finally took centre stage with the first T20I yesterday after security concerns grabbed headlines before the series.
Despite posting a modest target of 142, Bangladesh managed to take the game till the last over but eventually it was not enough for the Tigers to avoid a five-wicket defeat to Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The second T20I will take place at the same venue from 3:00pm (Bangladesh time) today.
Yesterday, it was the experienced Shoaib Malik who guided Pakistan to the target with three balls to spare as the 37-year-old remained not out on 58 off 45 balls with five boundaries.
However, Bangladesh did manage to keep the pressure on the Pakistan batsman for much of the chase. Substitute fielder Nazmul Hossain Shanto dropped a rather tough chance at long off with Malik on 47, and Mustafizur Rahman the aggrieved bowler, when the hosts required 17 off 16 balls.
Pakistan got the win off another dropped chance when Mohammad Mithun dropped a simple outfield chance off Mohammad Rizwan, who crossed over for two to complete the win.
However, Bangladesh did make a good start in defence of the target as Shafiul Islam removed Pakistan skipper Babar Azam for a duck in the first over.
Mustafizur then removed Mohammad Hafeez with a cutter before Malik and Ahsan Ali held the ship together for Pakistan. Ahsan too departed on 36 but it was a difficult task for the Tigers to defend a small total in the end.
Shafiul ended up with two for 27 from his four overs while Aminul Islam, an expensive Mustafizur and Al Amin Hossain -- who was the best bowler on display, conceding just 18 runs from his fur overs – took a wicket each for Bangladesh.
Earlier, Bangladesh got off to a stable start after electing to bat. The visiting batsmen were surprised by the slow nature of the pitch. Both openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Naim had to adjust to the surface, which once again raised questions over the slow strike rate from the openers.
When Tamim eventually departed after scoring 39 off 34 balls with five fours Bangladesh were 71 for one after 11 overs. Naim soon followed after scoring a team high of 43 off 41 balls which included three fours and two sixes.
On 100 for two after 15 overs, Bangladesh managed to score just 41 runs in the last five overs as the visitors lost some quick wickets on a sluggish Lahore pitch.
Liton Das, coming in at number three, departed for twelve while young Afif Hossain and Soumya Sarkar -- at number five and six respectively – could not make an impact.
Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad remained unbeaten on 19 off 14 balls. He later said that they were at least 15 runs short. Bangladesh batsmen conceding a total of 45 dot balls did not help matters.