Sports desk, September 21: Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by 136 runs in an Asia Cup match here on Thursday. Rashid smashed an unbeaten 57 off just 32 balls in a superb counter-attacking batting display to take Afghanistan to a competitive 255 for 7 after opting to bat.He and Gulbadin Naib (42 not out) stitched 95 runs for the unconquered eighth wicket as they rained boundaries towards the end of their innings.
On the back of their late batting pyrotechnics, Afghanistan scored 97 runs from the final 10 overs and that made the difference in the fate of the match which, however, was rendered inconsequential as both sides have already made it to the Super Four stage from Group B.
Later, Rashid showed why he is considered a premier leg spinner in the world by taking two crucial wickets, that of Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, the two most experienced players in the Bangladesh side in the absence of the likes of previous match centurion Mushfiqur Rahim.
Shakib Al Hasan (32) and Mahmudullah (27) were the top-scorers for Bangladesh and Rashid claimed their wickets with two gems of deliveries to break the backbone of their run chase. Bangladesh eventually were all out for just 119 in 42.1 overs.
Afghanistan will enter the Super Four stage with confidence after having won both their group matches. They play Pakistan in the same venue on Friday.
Chasing 256 for a win on a slow surface, Bangladesh struggled from the very beginning with two wickets falling inside five overs and runs hard to come by.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto (7), who made ODI debut Thursday, offered a leading edge to point fielder Aftab Alam of the bowling of off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the fourth over.
The next over, pacer Aftab Alam trapped Liton Das (6) LBW with an inswing delivery to reduce Bangladesh to 17 for 2.
Alam and Rahman bowled superbly with a tight line and length. The runs were hard to come by for the Bangladesh batsmen, including experienced Shakib who decided to play a waiting game in view of the precarious situation his team was in.
At the end of 10 overs, Bangladesh were 31 for 2 and it looked like an uphill task to even go near the target. The first boundary for Bangladesh came in the 15th over, and that happened after another senior player Mahmudullah came in. Shakib and Mahmudullah tried to build the innings as they grafted for runs.
In fact, the whole of the Bangladesh innings had just five boundaries.