Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Al Hasan was named Man of the Match for his three wickets
Bangladesh gave their home fans something to cheer about in the first match of the 2014 World Twenty20 as they demolished Afghanistan by nine wickets in Mirpur.
Afghanistan simply looked like they had no idea what had hit them and Bangladesh took full advantage of that.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim would have been over the moon with his decision to bowl first as Afghanistan opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad was caught by Mahmudullah at mid-off off the very first ball of the innings.
Gulbadin Naib managed to make 21 runs before he was caught by Sabbir Rahman off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan.
Al Hasan struck again the very next ball as debutant Najeeb Tarakai was caught by Nasir Hossain for just seven runs.
Nawroz Mangal failed to trouble the scorers as he was run out by Rahman for a golden duck.
Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi could not save his team as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Abdur Razzak for three runs.
Karim Sadiq only made 10 runs before he was run out by Farhad Reza.
Samiullah Shenwari fared no better as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Razzak for one run.
Shafiqullah made a quickfire 16 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mahmudullah.
Dawlat Zadran only scored one run before he was caught by Mahmudullah off the bowling of Reza.
Afghanistan were skittled out for a dismal 72 when Shapoor Zadran was clean bowled by Al Hasan for one run.
Al Hasan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Razzak snapped up two and Mashrafe Mortaza and Reza chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing a simple target of 73 to win, Bangladesh got off to a solid start as their opening pair of Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque amassed a 45-run partnership before Iqbal was given out lbw off the bowling of Shenwari for 21.
However, from that point on it was all Bangladesh as Haque and Al Hasan mopped up the rest of the runs to lead their side to a comfortable nine-wicket win.
Haque finished on 44 off 33 balls, which included four boundaries and three sixes, while Al Hasan remained undefeated on 10 off 12 deliveries, which included one boundary.
Shenwari was the only bowler to take a wicket.
Nabi was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “We put Gulbadin at No.3 to get a few quick runs. Its the first match of the tournament. We were under pressure on a spinning track and Shakib and Razzak did well. It’s a turning track and the spinners were able to put us under a lot of pressure. We’ll hope to put up a better performance in the next games.”
Rahim was ecstatic to have beaten Afghanistan so convincingly, and said: “The boys were up for the challenge and they’ve been doing well in the practice matches as well. They misread the wicket, probably a 120-130 wicket and since we picked a few early wickets it helped us. It was spinning a bit and we kept things tight and kept getting wickets.
“Mashrafe and Tamim are the champions in our side and it’s great to have them. I’m completely okay [in reference to his injury off the last ball of the first innings].”
Al Hasan was named Man of the Match, and said: “There is obviously spin there and we put the ball in the right areas and that did the trick. Usually it’s a good track but today it was different. I’d love getting these wickets everyday in my life. I thought our fast bowlers started off well and the first ball wicket gave us the momentum and that was the crucial thing for us. Great way to start the campaign.”