Sports desk, September 22: Riding on the half century by Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh beat Afghanistan in a T20I after a long wait of five and half years at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Saturday.The Tigers last beat Afghanistan in a World T20 match on March 16, 2014 by nine wickets in Dhaka. Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bowl first in the match. They wrapped up Afghanistan for 138 for seven in 20 overs.
In reply, Bangladesh lost some early wickets but Shakib kept going and ensured a win by four wickets with one over to play (139 for six in 19 overs).
With this win, Afghanistan suffered to back-to-back defeats in the ongoing Tri-series T20I. In the previous game against Zimbabwe, they suffered a defeat by seven wickets.
Bangladesh started chasing on a very slow manner as Liton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto failed to deliver what they needed to do. But both of them disappointed. While Liton fell for four off 10 and Shanto scored only five off eight deliveries.
However, in the third wicket stand, Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim added 58 runs which laid the foundation for the Tigers.
But after Mushfiqur’s dismissal on 26 off 25, Bangladesh lost Mahmudullah Riyad, Sabbir Rahman and Afif Hossain in quick succession, which made Bangladeshi spectators panicked at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Rashid Khan, the Afghan captain, picked up a hamstring injury before starting his bowling. Despite that blow, he came to bowl and bagged two wickets removing Mahmudullah and Afif.
But Shakib was there and Mosaddek Hossain accompanied Shakib very well. They scored 18 runs off the 18th over of Rashid with two fours and one big six.
Eventually, Bangladesh ended the game with six balls to play. Shakib remained unbeaten on 70 off 45 balls while Mosaddek remained unbeaten on 19 off 12.
For Afghanistan, debutant Naveen-ul-Haq and Rashid bagged two wickets each.
Earlier, Afghanistan posted 138 for 7 in 20 overs in their last league match of the Tri-Nation T20 Series.
Afghanistan managed a decent start as their two openers posted 75 runs in the first wicket stand in 9.3 overs. But while going to 100 from 75, they lost five wickets, which eventually prevented them from posting a big total.
In the second over of the innings, Mahmudullah Riyad missed an easy catch off Shafiul Islam ball, and thus Bangladesh missed the chance of an early breakthrough.
Coming to bowl in the 10th over, Afif Hossain bagged two wickets removing Hazratullah Zazai and Asghar Afghan. Zazai posted 47 off 35, Asghar suffered a duck.
Afif did not spend any run in his first over and took two wickets. This imperious show of Afif put Afghanistan’s batting in immense pressure.
One over later, Shakib Al Hasan removed Afghanistan’s most experienced batsman Mohamad Nabi for only four runs.
At the end of 15 overs, Afghanistan were 107 for 5, and in the last five overs, they scored only 31 runs losing two more wickets.
Zazai was the highest runs scorer for Afghanistan hitting 47 while his opening partner Rahmanullah Gurbaz hit 29.
For Bangladesh, Afif bagged two wickets, while Shakib, Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Islam and Mustafiuzr Rahman took one wicket each.
Both of Bangladesh and Afghanistan already reached the final of the event, which will be played on September 24 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
These two teams will lock the horns in the final of the event on September 24 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.