Afghanistan have continued their impressive run in ODIs in 2018 after defeating Bangladesh handsomely in the 6th match of this year’s Asia Cup. Asghar Afghan won the toss and decided that Afghanistan will bat first. Tamim Iqbal missed the match for Bangladesh with an injury he sustained in the first match against Sri Lanka and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim was given a rest. Afghanistan named an unchanged playing XI.
Abu Hider who was making his debut struck in his very first over after dismissing opener Ihsanullah for 8 runs. He got his second wicket after picking up Rahmat Shah and reduced Afghanistan to 28-2 in the sixth over. Wicket Keeper Mohammad Shahzad kept his wicket from one end and he was perfectly supported by Hashmatullah Shahidi. The duo added 51 runs before Shakib Al Hasan was able to remove Shahzad. He felt three runs short of an impressive half-century. Asghar Afghan failed to make an impact with the bat. The Afghani captain was picked up by Shakib for just 8 runs.
Meanwhile, Shahidi completed a hard-working fifty. Samiullah Shenwari was the next to go to back the pavilion. Shakib got his third wicket as he cleaned up Samiullah. Shahidi’s resistance was finally broken. Rubel got his first wicket and reduced the batting side to 150-6 in the 38th over. The duo of Nabi and Naib could only muster 10 runs before Shakib got his fourth victim when he dismissed Mohammad Nabi. It seemed like Afghanistan would be bowled out inside 200 but birthday boy Rashid Khan had some other ideas in his mind. The prodigy smashed the Bangladeshi bowlers all around the park. Gulbadin Naib too increased the run rate. Rashid hit 8 fours and one six as he ended the innings with 57 runs from 32 balls. Naib finished the innings with 42 runs. They added 95 runs in 57 balls. The duo helped Afghanistan to put on a challenging total of 255 runs in their innings.
Chasing anything above 250, against Afghanistan bowlers, is always difficult. Bangladesh knew they had to plan their chase perfectly in order to get a positive result. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Aftab Alam provided Afghanistan with two quick breakthroughs. Bangladesh batsmen could not get an idea of what the Afghan bowlers were throwing at them. After losing the openers early, Bangladesh, now lost Mominul Haque, were reduced to 39-3 in the 13th over. Mohammad Mithun showed little resistance as Naib cleaned him up. Shakib’s struggling innings of 32 runs finally came to an end.
Rashid Khan’s straight delivery was too much for him to defend. Rashid got his second wicket. This time it was Mahmudullah on the receiving end. Rahmat and Nabi sent Mehdy Hasan and Mortaza back to the pavilion. With 110-8 the defeat for Bangladesh was just a matter of time. A piece of brilliance in the field from Rashid dismissed Abu Hider. Mujeeb needed just one ball to wrap up the Bangladeshi innings. Rubel Hossain was wrapped on the pad straight in front of the wickets. Bangladesh were bowled out for 119 runs in 42.1 overs.
Afghanistan’s meteoric rise in ODI cricket is one to very proud of. Beating both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh means, Afghanistan have qualified for the super four as group toppers. Bangladesh’s win against Sri Lanka in the first match guarantees them a spot in the super four. Do let us know how far will these two teams go to the Asia Cup in the comment section.
Afghanistan: 255-7(50 o.)
Hashmatullah Shahidi: 58(92)
Rashid Khan: 57(32)
Shakib Al Hasan: 10-1-42-4.
Bangladesh: 119-10(42.1 o.)
Shakib Al Hasan: 32(55)
Rashid Khan: 9-3-13-2.