Dhaka – Bangladesh on Sunday managed a close shave riding on Taskin Ahmed’s death-over bowling to beat visiting Afghanistan only by 7 runs at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla stadium.
The tigers tottered after choosing bat first after winning the toss and scored 256 banking on Tamim Iqbal’s 80, Mahmudullah Riad’s 62 and Shakib Al Hasan’s 48 runs. Bangladesh side lost all the wickets to make the score.
The Afghans, seemed spirited, initially managed to climb towards the target, but fast bowler Taskin Ahmed’s devastating bowling eventually shattered the travelers dream.
Scores: Afghanistan 258 allout in 50 overs v Bangladesh 265 allout
The Tigers’ first ODI of three-match series could have been a better managed had the middle-order batsmen contributed their talents rightly.
Espncricinfo reported that the half-centuries from Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah should have given Bangladesh a big score, but a middle-order implosion left them stranded on 265, at least 25 short of what they looked like getting at one stage.
Yet, Afghanistan, who haven’t scored more than 264 to win against a top nation, will have a tough task ahead on a sluggish surface.
Fast bowler Dawlat Zadran finished with four wickets, but he conceded 73 runs from his ten overs. Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, the spinners, slowed things down and took two wickets each.
Bangladesh lost Soumya Sarkar in the first over, softly pulling Dawlat to short midwicket, to extend his poor form across formats since 2015. Tamim and Imrul Kayes then rebuilt the innings by adding 83.
There weren’t too many plays and misses, but the Afghanistan bowlers regularly strayed on both sides of the wicket to release any semblance of pressure they may have built up, the website reported.
Tamim feasted on anything on the leg side. That apart, there were plenty of opportunities for both batsmen to drive freely. After a slow start, Kayes looked set for a half-century before he fell in the 19th over, inside-edging a Nabi slider onto the stumps for a 53-ball 37.
Tamim, who was shelled at point by Hashmatullah Shahidi on 30 in the 13th over, dropped anchor soon after getting to his fifty in the 22nd over. With Mahmudullah too slowing down, the scoring rate dipped for a fair bit after a strong start.
Mahmudullah began with a straight six off Mirwais Ashraf and struck wonderful glides past point and through the squarer off-side field. In the 38th over, he swung Zadran over midwicket before tipping him with a pull shot for four to get to a fifty. He followed that with an inside-out blast over long-off for his second six.
The run-rate picked up during the course of his 40-run stand for the fourth wicket with Shakib. What didn’t help Afghanistan was another dropped chance: their captain Asghar Stanikzai reprieving Mahmudullah on 58. It cost them only four more as he was dismissed in the 41st over.
Rashid got into the game when he removed Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman with googlies in his last two overs. The late blows slowed down the Bangladesh charge in the latter stages, and Zadran ensured they maintained the stranglehold. While Bangladesh scored 69 in the last 10 overs, regular wickets prevented them from getting closer to 300.