Ton-up Liton secures Tigers series-clinching victory

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Sports desk, Feb 25: Bangladesh wrapped up the three-match ODI against Afghanistan series in style, thanks to a sublime century of Liton Das, who scripted the side’s facile 88-run over the visitors in the second ODI at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Friday.

Liton’s 136 off 126 was studded by 16 fours and two sixes and was well complemented by Mushfiqur Rahim’s 86 off 93 as Bangladesh compiled a hefty 306-4, their highest total against Afghanistan. The bowlers then bowled well in tandem to dismiss Afghans for 218 in 45.1 overs.

Bangladesh won the first match by four wickets and now this victory gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Liton and Mushfiqur Rahim combined for national record 202-run for the third wicket, eclipsing 178 by Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim against Pakistan in 2015.

Both of them however were dismissed by Farid Ahmad Malik in consecutive deliveries. But before that they paved the platform of a big total, which kept Bangladesh in advantageous position.

After opting to bat first, Bangladesh lost skipper Tamim Iqbal for 12, following a slow start and Liton also had a nervy start.

Shakib Al Hasan joined him and paced the innings, however, Rashid Khan removed him for 20, indicating a tough day for Bangladesh.

Liton and Mushfiqur then survived some tricky moments against Afghans celebrated spin trio -Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.

But they soon recovered and brought up the shots from their repertoire to foil the Afghanistan bowling attack.

Mushfiqur who was more fluent than Liton initially brought up his 41st half-century, slog-sweeping Rashid Khan for a boundary through mid-wicket off 56 balls.

Soon after Liton joined him to complete his fifty off 65 balls as he pulled Mohammad Nabi for boundary through square leg.

After getting his half-century, Liton paced his innings impeccably, much to the disappointment of the Afghans attack.

But he was dropped on 87 when Afghan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi shelled the catch off Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

Apart from this, Liton’s innings was almost chanceless. He took the Afghans spin trio, especially Rashid Khan in disdain and finally brought up his century off 107 balls, hitting Rashid for a boundary through extra cover.

After completing his century he struck Fazalhaq Farooqi a six over mid-wicket, which was the shot of the day.

Farid Ahmad brought up an end to his magnificent knock, undoing him with a slower short delivery.

Farid got Mushfiqur Rahim with similar delivery in the next ball to finish with 2-56. Mushfiqur smote nine boundaries in his innings.

Mahmudullah Riyad and Afif Hossain then helped Bangladesh propel past 300 runs mark. It was Bangladesh’s 21st 300 plus total in their 390 ODIs.

Mahmudullah was unbeaten on 6 while Afif, after his epic 93 not out which gave Bangladesh four-wicket win, recovering from a precarious 45-6, was not out on 13.

Farooqi and Rashid took one wicket each.

Najibullah Zadran, who made 67 in the first game, again top-scored for Afghans with 54 and opener Rahmat Shah scored 52.

They shared 89-run for the fourth wicket after Afghanistan were reduced to 34-3.

Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed who finished with 2-31, dismissed both of them in quick succession to edge Bangladesh closer to victory.

Nabi hit 40 and Rashid made a quick 29 but that only reduced the margin.

Shakib ripped through Afghans middle order with his left-arm spin to end with 2-29.

The third and final ODI is on Monday.