This years’ Asia Cup is wide open for any team, those were being called minnows for years, now it’s their time to announce their arrival at bigger occasions. Afghanistan and Bangladesh both knocked out Sri Lanka one of the favorites to win this edition. Both teams already qualified for super four round starting from today had to play their last group match at Abu Dhabi. Afghanistan outplayed Bangladesh is all departments and left Bangladesh at nowhere who has to play India today.
After winning the toss Afghanistan elected to bat first, they had an early set back when they lost the wicket of Ihsanullah (8) in second over of the match, Rahmat Shah also unable to leave his impact, he went back to the pavilion when team score was only 28, On the other hand Shahzad was batting well, but soon after drinks break he lost his composure and tried to hit SIX over long on could only found Abu Hider who took a brilliant catch, Shahzad made 37 and became the first victim of Shakib Al Hasan who ended his spell at 4 for 42. After the departure of Shahzad, Hashmatullah took over the charge of him and guide his team to 150; he had small partnerships with Asghar, Samiullah and Nabi (22, 38 and 11 respectively). He was caught behind on the bowling of Rubel at 58. Afghanistan lost two more quick wickets and team wasn’t in a good position at the end of 41st over when they were 160 for 7. That was the time when Rashid Khan who turns just 20 on the same day joined Gulbadin at the crease; they both put an unbeaten partnership of 95 off 55 balls. Rashid Khan blasted a 31 ball 50 and Gulbadin’s 42 off 38 had beautiful five boundaries as they both played remarkable shots in their partnership which gave Afghanistan a much-needed confidence booster.
Afghanistan set a target 256, which wasn’t an easy task for Bangladesh to chase it down inside 50 overs, as Afghan bowlers are the strength of their team and are the major contributors to the success of Afghanistan team so far. The top order of Bangladesh once again failed to deliver and they were 4 for 43, and they were never ever been in a position to challenge the target as they kept losing wickets in regular intervals. Afghan bowling superstar sensation Rashid Khan once again bowled brilliantly and Bangladesh batsmen were clueless to pick to googlies and leg-spins, he was economical during his spell and picked up two important wickets of Shakib and Mahmudullah. Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Gulbadin also picked up two wickets each, while Rahmat Shah, Muhammad Nabi and Aftab Alam added one wicket each to their ODI bowling career. Bangladesh batting collapsed severely as their 8 batsmen weren’t able to achieve double figure score in their innings, the Shakib Al Hassan, Mahmudullah and Mosaddek (32, 27 and 26* respectively) crossed the double-figure mark. Bangladesh has to face India today at Dubai, while Afghanistan is to play against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi.
Player of the Match: The birthday boy Rashid Khan won’t forget his birthday anytime soon. An excellent all-round effort earns him ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Rashid Khan: “It was a special day for me and I am really for happy as I contributed in batting, fielding and bowling. I come late to bowl because I can bowl dot balls and put the pressure on the batsmen. I want to dedicate this award to ex-chairman of Afghanistan cricket Atif Mashal, he has done a lot for Afghanistan cricket.”
Afghanistan 255/7 in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 58, Rashid Khan 57; Shakib Al Hasan 42/4)
Bangladesh 119/10 in 42.1 overs (Shakib Al Hasan 32; Rashid Khan 13/2, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 22/2)
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