Bangladesh conquer Afghanistan in Asia Cup

By our correspondent
LAHORE: Bangladesh downed Afghanistan by 89 runs in their Asia Cup 2023 encounter here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday night. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto with their career-best innings set a daunting task for Afghanistan who in turn could muster 245 runs, losing oftheir wickets inside 44.3 overs. Bangladesh showcased their batting prowess, posting a formidable total of 334/5. Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto played career-best innings to anchor Bangladesh’s innings.Despitetheir best efforts, Afghanistan couldn’t meet the challenging target set by Bangladesh, and their innings featured only two significant partnerships. These partnerships, while promising, were unable to salvage Afghanistan’s innings.Afghanistan’ssecond-wicket partnership, worth 78 runs, between opener Ibrahim Zadran andRahmat Shah showed promise but was disrupted when Rahmanullah Gurbaz wasadjudged leg before wicket in the second over, following an umpire’s review.RahmatShah, however, fell victim to Taskin Ahmed, being clean-bowled for 33, leaving Afghanistan at 79 for two. Zadran and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi then tookcharge, building a partnership. Their combined efforts added 62 runs to thescore before Zadran lost his patience, resulting in a safe diving catch to the right by the Bangladeshi wicketkeeper.IbrahimZadran showcased a strong performance, scoring 75 runs off 74 balls. Thismarked his fourth ODI half-century, embellished with 10 boundaries and a six.HashmatullahShahidi continued to play a captain’s innings, securing his 15th careerhalf-century. However, his innings came to an end at 51 runs from 60 balls, ashe got a thick edge, and the ball landed safely in the hands of the third man,Hasan Mahmud. Shahidi’s innings included six fours.Followingthese partnerships, Afghanistan made efforts to stabilize their innings withcontributions from Najibullah Zadran (17), Gulbadin Naib (15), and Rashid Khan(24). However, their efforts were not enough to meet the required run rate.In theend, the tail-ender Mujeeb Ur Rahman contributed four runs while FazalhaqFarooqi remained not out.TaskinAhmed emerged as the standout bowler for Bangladesh, claiming four crucialwickets, while Shoriful Islam took three wickets. Hasan Mahmud, Afif Hossain,and Mehidy Hasan Miraz each contributed with one wicket.Despitetheir battling performance, Afghanistan’s innings fell short of the target setby Bangladesh, highlighting the challenge of chasing a substantial total inhigh-stakes cricket.Facing amodest turnout of only Afghan supporters, Miraz and Shanto combined to form apunishing partnership of 215 runs for the third wicket. Their relentlessassault on Afghanistan’s bowlers set the tone for Bangladesh’s innings.MehidyHasan Miraz, who scored 112 runs from 119 balls, featuring seven fours andthree sixes, was forced to retire hurt due to the scorching heat. Before hisdeparture, he provided unwavering support to Shanto, enabling him to achievehis maiden ODI century. Miraz’s century marked his second in ODIs.Bangladeshenjoyed a solid start to their innings with openers Mohammad Naim and Mirazamassing 60 runs for the first wicket in 10 overs. However, a quick wicketpushed Bangladesh into a precarious situation. It was during this crucial phasethat Miraz and Shanto took control of the innings. They initially steadied theship and then built the score gradually.AfterMiraz’s departure, Shanto was joined by Mushfiqur Rahim. However, a few overslater, Shanto was run out at 278, with a personal best score of 104 from 105balls, including nine fours and two sixes. Rahim, too, fell victim to a run-outafter contributing 25 runs off 15 balls.CaptainShakib Al Hasan played a crucial unbeaten innings of 32 runs from just 18balls, featuring four boundaries and a six. Shamim Hossain became the fifthBangladeshi batter to depart, run out at 11, while Afif Hossain (4*) remainedunbeaten alongside his captain.Mujeeb urRahman and Gulbadin Naib were the successful bowlers for Afghanistan, claimingone wicket each.Notably,Bangladesh made three changes to their lineup, including the ODI debut ofall-rounder Shamim Hossein, while Afghanistan introduced three changes as well,bringing in Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, and Karim Janat to their XI.

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