Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan celebrated his 20th birthday in style as he smashed a 32-ball 57 and took two wickets in a highly economical spell to lead his side to a 136-run win over Bangladesh.
Opting to bat first, Afghanistan made a rocky start to their innings as opener Ihsanullah was caught by Mohammad Mithun at cover off the bowling of debutant Abu Hider for eight runs.
Rahmat Shah did not fare much better as he was clean bowled by Hider for 10 runs.
Mohammad Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi stabilised the innings with a 51-run partnership before Shahzad was brilliantly caught by Hider at long-on off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan for 37.
Shakib then proceeded to clean up Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan and Samiullah Shenwari for eight and 18 respectively.
Shahidi went on to score 58 off 92 balls, which included three boundaries, before he was caught behind off the bowling of Rubel Hossain.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Nabi fell shortly after, but Rashid and Gulbadin Naib ensured Afghanistan ended their innings on a high as they forged an unbeaten 95-run partnership, during which Rashid surpassed his half-century.
Rashid finished on 57 off 32 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six, while Naib remained undefeated on 42 off 38 deliveries, which included five boundaries.
Thanks to Rashid and Naib, Afghanistan finished on 255/7 off their 50 overs.
Shakib was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Hider snapped up two and Rubel chipped in with one.
Chasing 256 to win, Bangladesh struggled from the get-go as debutant Nazmul Hossain Shanto was dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman for seven runs.
Liton Das, who opened the batting with Shanto, was trapped lbw off the bowling of Aftab Alam for six runs.
Liton opted to review the decision, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit the stumps.
With Naib proceeding to remove Mominul Haque and Mithun in quick succession, Bangladesh were reeling at 43/4 in the 15th over.
Shakib managed to make 32 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Rashid, who then sent Mahmudullah packing for 27.
Bangladesh collapsed after Mahmudullah’s dismissal, and even though Mosaddek Hossain struck an unbeaten 26, his side were skittled out for 119.
Rashid, Naib and Mujeeb took two wickets apiece, while Aftab, Nabi and Rahmat claimed one wicket each.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “Afghanistan outplayed us from the 40th over. They played really well and we didn’t bowl well in the last 10 overs. Our batting wasn’t up to the mark. We have a big match tomorrow and the boys need to be fresh. It’s a bit difficult to recover from back to back matches in this heat. Mushfiqur and Mustafiz were rested today because of their niggles.”
Asghar was thrilled to have won, and said: “It was a very important game for us and I’ll give a lot of credit to Naib and Rashid for their effort. Our top and middle order didn’t play very well but thanks to God Naib and Rashid did very well. Yes, it will be tough for other teams to chase 230 kind of totals against us because of our bowling and fielding. I do have a groin issue but I’ll let the physio decide tomorrow on my status for the match (against Pakistan).”
Rashid was named Man of the Match, and said: “I’m really happy with my performance and the best thing was I performed with both the bat and ball. My main focus was to bat till the end and I think our preparation was good to play till the end.
“Our fielding was amazing and the conditions were really hard and tough. We’ve been working hard on our fielding, we focus a lot on that. I’ve been coming on to bowl late because I want to build pressure by bowling more dot balls and the batsmen give their wickets. You can’t rely on two kinds of players on these kind of pitches. I want to dedicate this award to our ex board chairman Atif Mashal who has done a wonderful job for us in the last few years.”