Afghanistan vs Bangladesh 3rd T20: Rashid defends nine off the final over as Afghanistan win thriller

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh 3rd T20 win series 3-0 Rashid Khan stars again cricket

Afghanistan celebrate their 3-0 victory after Rashid Khan’s heroics in the final over

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan defended nine runs off the final over as his side escaped with a nail-biting one-run win over Bangladesh in the third Twenty20 International in Dehradun.

Afghanistan’s victory in the final match of the series saw them whitewash Bangladesh 3-0.

Opting to bat first, Afghanistan made a strong start to their innings as openers Mohammad Shahzad and Usman Ghani amassed a 55-run partnership before Shahzad was trapped lbw off the bowling of Nazmul Islam for 26.

Ghani went on to make 19 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Abu Jayed.

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai smashed a 17-ball 27, which included three sixes, before he was dismissed by Ariful Haque.

Mohammad Nabi fell shortly after, while Najubullah Zadran scored 15 before he was caught by Mahmudullah at long-on off the bowling of Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.

Shafiqullah failed to have an impact, but Samiullah Shenwari provided some last-minute fireworks to ensure Afghanistan finished on 145/6 off their 20 overs.

Shenwari ended up scoring an unbeaten 33, which came off 28 balls and include a boundary and two sixes.

Nazmul and Jayed picked up two wickets apiece, while Shakib and Ariful chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 146 to win, Bangladesh found themselves in trouble early on as two run outs, coupled with wickets from Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Karim Janat, saw them slump to 53/4 in the ninth over.

However, wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah came to the rescue with an 84-run partnership and left Bangladesh needing nine runs to win off the final over.

Rahim was sent packing on the first ball of the last over as he was caught by Najibullah at deep square leg off the bowling of Rashid for 46, which came off 37 balls and included seven boundaries.

Bangladesh managed to score five runs off the next four balls, which left them needing four runs to win off the last ball of the match.

However, they could only get two runs before Mahmudullah was run out due to some brilliant fielding from Shafiqullah at long-on.

Mahmudullah hammered a 38-ball 45, which included three boundaries and two sixes.

Rashid, Mujeeb and Janat claimed one wicket each.

Shakib was gutted to have lost, and said: “We played better today than last two games. Overall, we have to come up with better plans. I thought we restricted them to a reasonable total. We were so close, but in the middle overs that cost us.

“I thought Mushfiq and Mahmudullah gave us a chance but they could not finish it. These conditions suited Afghanistan and they had quality spinners.”

Stanikzai was relieved to have won, and said: “Good to win the series 3-0. Great preparation for Test match against India. The morale is high. Last couple of years we have performed well. We want to achieve it for Afghanistan. You see the batsmen, bowlers are all in good form. We have a few days for the Test match – thanks for the support.”

Rahim was named Man of the Match, and said: “We knew it was going to be difficult on this track. Credit goes to Afghanistan and they deserve the win. Hopefully, we will learn from this. Although, we lost the series we were playing for pride. I thought 145+ was par, but with Mujeeb and Rashid it was tough.

“We lost early wickets and Shakib, we needed more partnership and boundaries. The wicket, however, was slow. We just wanted to take it to the last over. Rashid is difficult to play. Last ball can go either way.”

Rashid was named Man of the Series, and said: “I am always trying my best to believe in my skills. I had one plan: whatever happens bowl in a good-length area. Whether leg-spin or the wrong’un, I just enjoy. The ball was gripping on a good length and that was my plan. Bowling in this area got me success.

“Full credit to my fitness. If you’re fit, you can deliver in any department. Doesn’t matter whether I’m playing in league cricket or the national team, I just want to enjoy. Thanks to the crowd for the support and love you’ve given us. We will come again and again to Dehradun. We will give you the best performances.”

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