Mustafizur stars as Bangladesh hold nerve to win
After so many heartbreaks in their cricketing history, Bangladesh have held their nerves when it was needed most as they beat Afghanistan by 3 runs their second Super Four match in Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Bangladesh decided to bat first at the toss. They included Imrul Kayes and debutant Nazmul Islam Apu for Mosaddek Hossain and Rubel Hossain. Afghanistan brought Samiullah Shenwari in for Najibullah Zadran.
Bangladesh’s powerplay start was again disappointing with Nazmul Hossain Shanto and no.3 Mohammad Mithun failing to get starts. Liton Das finally found form in this tournament. He put on 63-run stand with senior campaigner Mushfiqur Rahim.
Liton lost his wicket slog sweep shot just after playing an eye-catching cover drive off Rashid in the 19th over. He made a confident-looking 43-ball 41. Shakib (0) mixed-up with Mushfiqur in the same over. Mushfiqur, on 33, then himself got run out in Rashid’s next over.
Mahmudullah and Kayes held up Bangladesh’s innings steadily. Running between the wickets was key for them in the partnership. They added 128 runs for the sixth-wicket, which is the highest for this stand for Bangladesh in ODIs.
Mahmudullah hit only 3 fours and 2 maximums in his 74 runs from 81 deliveries. Imrul stayed till the end scoring 72* runs off 89 balls with 6 fours. Bangladesh posted a competitive 249/7 on board.
Aftab Alam bagged three wickets for Afghanistan. Danger man Rashid took one wicket for 46.
Afghanistan lost the wickets of Ihsanullah and Rahmat Shah early in the run-chase. In-form Hashmatullah Shahidi built up the innings with opener Mohammad Shahzad as they put on 63 runs.
Mahmudullah brought the breakthrough sending back Shahzad, who made 81-ball 53 runs hitting 8 boundaries. Asghar Afghan charged up with Shahidi in a 78-run stand which kept Afghanistan’s hopes alive.
Skipper Asghar was then sent back by Mashrafe Bin Mortaza for 47-ball 39. The Tiger captain dismissed set batsman Shahidi as well. The left-hander made decent contribution again with 71 off 99.
Mohammad Nabi produced a major scare with his 28-ball 38 but Shakib got him in the penultimate over. Afghanistan required 8 off the last over with Samiullah Shenwari and Rashid Khan at the crease.
Mustafizur Rahman sent back Rashid on the second ball. Gulbadin Naib and Shenwari could not cope up with the pressure and Bangladesh sneaked through by 3 runs, their joint-narrowest margin of win in ODIs.
Watch Mustafiz’s last over here-
— Mark (@Mark27975412) September 24, 2018
Bangladesh 249/7 in 50 overs (Mahmudullah 74, Imrul 72*, Liton 41; Aftab 3/54)
Afghanistan 246/7 in 50 overs (Shahidi 71, Shahzad 53; Mustafizur 2/44, Mashrafe 2/62)
Bangladesh won by 3 runs
Man of the Match: Mahmudullah Riyad