Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Stanikzai and Shenwari annihilated Bangladesh’s bowling attack
Afghanistan batsman Asghar Stanikzai and all-rounder Samiullah Shenwari both scored half-centuries to lead their side to a historic 32-run win against Bangladesh in Fatullah.
Afghanistan’s win was made even more special by the fact that it was their first ODI victory over a Test-playing nation.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first as Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad was given out lbw off the bowling of Rubel Hossain for just two runs.
Shahzad’s opening partner, Karim Sadiq, only made 12 runs before he was caught and bowled by Arafat Sunny.
Najibullah Zadran managed to make 21 runs before he was clean bowled by Sunny.
Nawroz Mangal made 24 runs before he was run out by Naeem Islam.
Captain Mohammad Nabi failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught by Nasir Hossain at first slip off the bowling of Mominul Haque for seven runs.
From that point on it was all Afghanistan as Stanikzai and Shenwari absolutely demolished Bangladesh’s bowling attack during their 164-run partnership.
Both batsmen brought up their half-centuries during the onslaught before Shenwari was run out by Rubel Hossain for 81 off 69 balls, which included 10 boundaries and a six.
Stanikzai remained unbeaten on a career-best 90 off 103 deliveries, which included six boundaries and three sixes, as Afghanistan finished on 254/6 at the end of their 50 overs.
Sunny was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers with two wickets, while Haque and Hossain chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 255 to win, Bangladesh got off to an awful start as opening batsman Shamsur Rahman was clean bowled by Shapoor Zadran for a duck.
Anamul Haque only made one run before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Hamid Hassan.
Rahim and Mominul Haque stabilised the innings with a 68-run partnership before Rahim was given out lbw off the bowling of Nabi for 23.
Haque ended up making 50 off 72 balls, which included six boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Shenwari.
Nasir Hossain and Islam kept the runs flowing with a 73-run partnership before Hossain was caught by Shenwari at backward point off the bowling of Mirwais Ashraf for 41.
Islam went on to make 35 before he was caught by Mangal at mid-off off the bowling of Hassan.
Abdur Razzak was dismissed the very next ball as he was run out by Najibullah Zadran for a golden duck.
Sunny was also on his way back to the pavilion for a golden duck when he was caught behind off the bowling of Shapoor Zadran.
Ziaur Rahman made a quickfire 41 before he was cleaned up by Nabi.
Afghanistan’s celebrations started when Rubel Hossain was caught by Mangal at midwicket off the bowling of Nabi for 17.
Nabi was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Shapoor Zadran and Hassan snapped up two wickets apiece and Ashraf and Shenwari chipped in with one wicket each.
Rahim admitted that his side had been “outplayed”, and said: “We were outplayed in all three departments. We played well earlier in the first 30 overs but they did well thereafter, especially in the slog overs. They batted very well and didn’t gave us any chances and we were one bowler short.
“254 was chasable, we could have batted better but they bowled well too.
“[Our] Bowling was ok, but they batted really well in the end. Shakib and Tamim aren’t there so there was a lot of pressure, I tried to bat well but I got out cheaply. Hard luck to the boys. It’s hard to believe that we disappointed the fans but we want to improve in the remaining matches.”
Nabi was ecstatic with his side’s historic win, and said: “Our first win against a Full Member. They bowled very well till 25th over, and the last partnership was brilliant. It was a good partnership. Our boys bowled brilliantly in the first few overs and fielded well.
“We missed some catches towards the end…[Our] Fans and the whole country must be celebrating and inshallah we’ll try to do even better in the coming matches. Our fans have always prayed for us and they love us so I’d like to thank them.”
Shenwari edged out Stanikzai for the Man of the Match award, and said: “It was a team effort…from the coach, manager and everyone. We wanted to bat till 50 overs and I did.
“150 was the big partnership, our plan was to just stay at the wicket and when we took 107 runs from the last 10 overs, that was the main point.
“I have learnt leg-spin from the beginning and have been working hard with the coaches.”