Afghanistan Beats Bangladesh in Rain-Interrupted Match
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In a rain-affected clash, Afghanistan displayed superb bowling skills to defeat Bangladesh by 17 runs and secure a 1-0 lead in the ODI series. The match in Chattogram witnessed three interruptions due to rain, with a total suspension of three hours and 15 minutes, eventually resulting in a 43-over contest. However, even that was cut short as a final downpour at 9.33pm forced the players off the field. At that point, Afghanistan stood at 83 for 2 in 21.4 overs, comfortably surpassing the DLS par score and claiming victory.
Fazalhaq Farooqi emerged as the standout bowler for Afghanistan, continuing his impressive form from last year’s ODI series at the same venue. He took three crucial wickets for 24 runs. Afghanistan’s spin trio, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, also exerted pressure on Bangladesh, contributing five wickets for 69 runs in their combined 24 overs.
Bangladesh had moments of relief with 24 extras and three dropped catches by Afghanistan. However, they failed to capitalize on these opportunities. Apart from Towhid Hridoy’s resilient knock, securing his third ODI fifty, the rest of the batting lineup provided little support. Bangladesh suffered several soft dismissals, collapsing from a promising 103 for 3 to a final total of 169 for 9 in their allotted 43 overs.
Credit must be given to the dedicated groundstaff at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, who
tirelessly managed the large tarps covering the 30-yard circle to protect it from the rain. Their efforts deserve high praise. Additionally, the near capacity crowd deserves recognition for their unwavering support throughout the game, despite the lack of overhead cover at the ground. Spectators had to rush to the staircases to shield themselves from the rain sweeping in from the south.
The star players the spectators came to watch disappointed them greatly. They failed to live up to expectations. Despite Tamim Iqbal’s early dismissal, Bangladesh started off well in the first 20 overs with Litton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto showing promise by hitting five boundaries, including a six. However, their dismissals within six balls of each other halted Bangladesh’s momentum. Litton mistimed a pull shot straight to deep square leg, while Shanto top-edged a sweep to short fine leg, resulting in a slowdown for Bangladesh.
Taking advantage of Shakib Al Hasan's cautious approach, Afghanistan capitalized on the situation. The fourth-wicket partnership only added 37 runs in 65 balls, and although the slowdown was partly due to the rain break, it ultimately cost Bangladesh. Shakib struggled to score, laboring to 15 off 37 balls, marking his slowest ODI innings in eight years (minimum 30 balls). Mohammad Nabi dismissed him by catching him at cover. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan's leg-spin maestro, continued his dominance over Mushfiqur Rahim, claiming his wicket for the tenth time in competitive cricket. A half-tracker from Rashid slipped through Mushfiqur's legs, brushing the inner thigh and hitting the stumps. Rashid's expertise was also on display as he got Afif Hossain out leg before wicket (lbw) with assistance from the Decision Review System (DRS). Farooqi returned to the attack to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz, further intensifying Bangladesh's batting collapse.
Following another rain break, Mujeeb dismissed Taskin leg before wicket (lbw), and Farooqi claimed his third wicket of the day by dismissing Towhid. Mustafizur Rahman’s defensive play in the last over of the innings drew a few laughs, but it summed up Bangladesh’s lackluster batting effort, particularly in the last 20 overs where they could only manage a meager run rate of three runs per over.
Despite Afghanistan giving Bangladesh some opportunities, they couldn’t capitalize on them. Mujeeb dropped a return catch from Shanto when he was on 10. Wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz also dropped Hridoy off the same bowler when he was on 16. In the last over, Rashid dropped Hasan Mahmud, although it didn’t have much impact on the outcome.
Afghanistan adopted a cautious approach during their chase of 164 runs. Openers Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, despite hitting only four boundaries between them, added 54 runs in 15.3 overs before Shanto dismissed Gurbaz, caught at short midwicket. Gurbaz made 22 off 45 balls with just one four.
Taskin then caught Rahmat Shah at slip, with Litton taking a good low catch. Ibrahim remained unbeaten on 41 off 58 balls with five fours, while captain Hashmatullah Shahidi accompanied him at the third rain break, remaining unbeaten on nine off 13 balls.
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