Afghanistan 254/6 after 50 overs (Stanikzai 90, Shenwari 81, Sunny 2-44)
Ifaz Khorshed Hassan from Fatullah
An impressive 6th wicket partnership of 164 between Asghar Stanikzai and Shenwari guided Afghanistan to a decent score against the Tigers. Both players scored their career best on way to building a solid platform to attack the Bangladeshi batsmen. In doing so, they registered Afghanistan’s record partnership for 6th wicket. Late blitz from both set batsmen yielded 107 runs off the final ten overs. Mushfiqur Rahim will rue the dropped catches which could have restricted the final score.
After Mushfiqur asked the Afghans to bat, the Bangladeshi bowlers bowled superbly. Quick strikes early in the innings slowed down the scoring rate and reduced Afghanistan to 90 for 5. When Mominul removed Mohammad Nabi, it looked all over for the Afghans but Stanikzai and Shenwari had other plans. Instead of going for the kill, Tigers loosened their approach and allowed the batsmen to settle down on a good batting wicket. Stanikzai came to crease after the fall of second wicket and took his time to get set but Shenwari displayed intent early on. The pair kept scoring at three an over and Tigers looked in command till the 42st over. Bangladeshi bowlers lost their composure when the set pair attacked and runs started leaking. Boundaries were scored every over to lift the run rate and put the pressure back on the Tigers.
Due to Mashrafe’s injury, Bangladesh went with a lone seamer while Arafat Sunny took his place. Rubel Hossein and Abdur Razzak opened the bowling. Rubel struck in the third over to remove Shahzad. Arafat Sunny got two quick wickets to leave Afghanistan struggling at 41 for 3. Naeem Islam produced an individual brilliance to run Nawroz Mangal out when he had one wicket to aim.
Injury to Shohag Gazi in his first over limited Mushfiqur’s bowling options and that may turn out to be decisive in the outcome of this match.