Bangladesh win nail-biter against Afghanistan to stay alive in Asia Cup
bdnews24.com : Bangladeshhave put another horror show by the vaunted middle-order behind them to edgeout Afghanistan in a thriller and stay in the hunt for their first Asia Cupglory.
Afghanistan looked set to send theTigers packing in their second Super Four match in Abu Dhabi on Sunday but fora brilliant last over by Mustafizur Rahman, in which they needed only 8 runs.
Having come into the Super Fourunbeaten, they fell short by three runs, and were themselves knocked out of theAsia Cup after their narrow loss to Pakistan in another close match onSaturday.
Back from the brink after twodisastrous batting performances on the trot, Bangladesh will take on Pakistanon Wednesday to decide who will face India in the final.
The Indians handed their arch-rivalsa nine-wicket drubbing in the other Super Four match of the day.
In Abu Dhabi, the Afghans lostRashid Khan, who scored a fifty in their huge win over the Tigers on Thursday,in the second delivery of the final over after he took two off the first.
He then tried to pull a short onebut chipped it back to Mustafizur.
It was then up to Samiullah Shenwariand Gulbadin Naib to take their team over the line.
But Shenwari managed one leg bye offthe third ball. When Mustafizurâ€™s offcutter beat Naib and fifth deliveryproduced another leg bye, Afghanistan needed 4 off the last ball.
Shenwari could only throw his bat ata short one that skidded across and failed to connect, triggering wildcelebrations by Bangladesh players.
Before Mustafizâ€™s devastating spell,Shakib Al Hasan took out danger man Mohammad Nabi, who made 38 off 28.
Asghar Afghan (39) and HashmatullahShahidi (71) tilted the tie greatly towards Afghanistan by stitching animpressive 78-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza â€“ whobled 62 off his 10 overs, the most by a Bangladesh bowler â€“ made amends toremove both batsmen at crucial moments.
Mashrafe was due to bowl the 46thover, but he gave the ball to Mustafizur to squeeze three overs out of him,which would prove decisive in the end.
Shahidi had steadied the ship with a63-run partnership with opener Mohammad Shahzad (53) after the team lostIhsanullah (8) and Rahmat Shah (1).
Mahmudullah, who had shone with bat,broke the Shahidi-Shahzad stand by bowling the latter in the 25th over.
Mohammad Nabi (38) and SamiullahShenwari (23 not out) produced a quick-fire 46 runs for the sixth wicket butthat was not enough as they ended with 246 for seven chasing 250.
Debutant spinner Nazmul Islam Apuhelped push the required rate higher by bowling a tight line to give away 29runs off his 8 overs.
Earlier, Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayesresurrected the Bangladesh innings with fighting half-centuries after yetanother batting collapse.
Their inspiring 128-run partnershiptook the team total to 249 for 7 in 50 overs.
Mahmudullah hit three boundaries andtwo sixes for his 74 off 81 before being caught by Rashid off Aftab Alam in the47th over.
Kayes, who was flown to Abu Dhabiafter the batting failure against India in the first Super Four match onFriday, hit six fours in his calculative, unbeaten 72 off 89.
Kayes played his last One-DayInternational during the South Africa tour in October last year. He wasrecalled following consecutive failures of injured Tamim Iqbalâ€™s replacements.
After deciding to bat first,Bangladesh unravelled again as they kept losing quick wickets early.
At the top, only Liton Das couldmake his presence felt with a 41-run innings as the Tigers had lost two earlywickets again in the powerplay to put the middle order under pressure.
Liton (41) and Mushfiqur Rahim (33)attempted to rebuild the innings with a 63-run stand, but youngster Rashid hadLitonâ€™s back in the 19th over when the opener looked to sweep.
Shakib, who had come in at No 5 tonegate Rashidâ€™s threat, was run out in just his second ball for a duck.
He flicked it on to midwicket,called but Mushfiqur asked him to go back as there was no run. Shakib slippedas he looked to turn and Shenwariâ€™s direct hit caught him short.
An over later, Bangladesh suffered adouble blow when Mushfiqur went for a suicidal single. Kayes worked the ball infront of square leg and Mushfiqur called for the run.
He was halfway down the track whenKayes sent him back. When Rashid took the bails off from Nabiâ€™s throw, thebatsman was not even in the frame.
The pace trio of Aftab Alam, Mujeebur Rahman and Naib had succeeded in keeping them under a tight leash withdisciplined line and length.
Opener Shanto (6) and one-downMohammad Mithun (1) were out in the fifth and sixth over respectively.