Watch highlights as Pakistan beat Bangladesh by two runs to win the 2012 Asia Cup.
Watch highlights as Pakistan beat Bangladesh by two runs to win the 2012 Asia Cup. Reuters

Pakistan has won the 2012 Asia Cup after defeating Bangladesh in a thrilling final by just two runs.

Needing a boundary off the final ball, Bangladesh's Shahadat Hossain could only muster a leg-bye to leave his country painfully short of claiming a first major trophy.

Bangladesh were chasing Pakistan's 236 for nine made earlier in the day in Dhaka, but fell agonizingly short on 234 for 8.

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez gave the favorites a solid start with 40 off 87 balls, while Shahid Afridi hit 32 from just 22 to accelerate his side toward a competitive total.

Pakistan's innings finished with wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed unbeaten on 46, including 19 in the final over off of Shahadat's bowling.

But Bangladesh looked in good shape in their run chase early on, led by opener Tamim Iqbal's 60 from 68 balls.

With Iqbal supported by Shakib Al Hasan's 68, the chances looked good for Bangladesh to demonstrate their progress in international cricket and back-up their shock semi-final victory over Sri Lanka.

But some slow-paced run-getting then derailed Bangladesh's innings. Nazimuddin hit just 16 from 52, while Nasir Hossain only managed 28 off 63.

Eventually the match came down to the dramatic scenario of Bangladesh needing four to win with two balls remaining. With the first, Aizaz Cheemer bowled Abdur Razzak to take the match down to the final ball.

That left Shahadat, the man whose bowling had cost his side earlier, as the man with the responsibility of hitting the winning runs to register what would have been a historic moment for the Bangladeshi nation.

But it was not to be as Shahadat was only able to get the ball away for a leg-bye.

Shahid Afridi was announced as the man-of-the-match winner for his 32 runs off 22 balls with the bat and conceding just 28 runs from his 10 overs with the ball.

The fact that Bangladesh's Shakib was named player of the tournament would have been little consolation after coming so close to victory.

But in the coming days Bangladesh will surely take consolation from the fact that they have shown the world that they can now compete with the established power's in world cricket. All of which bodes well for the future of Bangladesh and international cricket as a whole.

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