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Bangladesh defeat Afghanistan, keep Asia Cup hopes alive


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Lahore: Bangladesh triumphed over Afghanistan with dominant batting and bowling display by 89 runs to stay alive in Asia Cup.

Choosing to bat at Gaddafi Stadium here on Sunday, Bangladesh set the stage for a thrilling contest against Afghanistan.

The Bangladeshi team made a strong start with openers Mohammad Naim Sheikh and debutant Shamim Hossain taking off like a rocket, scoring 60 runs in the powerplay, the highest against Afghanistan since 2018.

However, the Afghan bowlers managed to break through, dismissing Sheikh for 28 off 32 balls, and the young Towhid Hridoy fell quickly for a duck. The standout moment in Bangladesh’s innings came when Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who was opening the batting for the first time in ODIs since 2018.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan’s star bowler Rashid Khan bowled just 2 overs in the overslab 21-30. This allowed Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto to build an exceptional partnership, amassing 194* runs off 190 balls.

Both batsmen achieved centuries, with Miraz scoring his second ODI hundred, the first being against India in Bangladesh.

Najmul Hossain Shanto, the top scorer from the previous match, continued his excellent form, contributing 104 runs off 105 balls. Mushfiqur Rahim added 25 runs off 15 balls to the total, while skipper Shakib Al Hasan remained unbeaten with 32 runs off 18 balls.

Even debutant Shamim Hossain made a memorable entrance to ODIs by smashing a six off his first ball, ultimately scoring 11 runs off 6 balls.

Bangladesh posted a formidable total of 334/5 in their allotted 50 overs, setting a daunting target for Afghanistan.In response, Afghanistan faced a challenging task, with opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz dismissed early for just 1 run off 7 balls.

Bangladesh’s Shoriful Islam made an impactful start, delivering a wicket maiden over and putting pressure on the Afghan batsmen. Afghanistan struggled during the powerplay, accumulating 44 dot balls.

However, the partnership between Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah steadied the Afghanistan innings, adding 78 runs off 97 balls. Taskin Ahmed managed to break the partnership by dismissing Rahmat Shah for 33 runs off 57 balls.

At this point, Afghanistan needed to chase at a rate of 8.30 runs per over. Zadran fought valiantly, scoring an excellent 75 runs off 74 balls but was dismissed by a superb catch from Mushfiqur Rahim.

Skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi then took charge, contributing 51 runs off 60 balls, but the regular fall of wickets made the task increasingly difficult for Afghanistan. Zadran and Rashid Khan added 17 and 24 runs each, but the Bangladeshi bowlers maintained the pressure.

Bangladesh’s bowlers, led by Taskin Ahmed with figures of 4/44 and Shoriful Islam with 3/36, put on an impressive display, restricting Afghanistan to 245 all out in 44.3 overs.

Shakib Al Hasan, Miraz, and the rest of the bowling unit played their part in securing a convincing 89-run victory for Bangladesh. In the end, Bangladesh’s strong batting performance and disciplined bowling sealed the win.

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