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Afghanistan withstand Mushfiqur brilliance to sweep series

07 Jun 2018 CricBuzz

Perhaps not even hope can triumph over Rashid Khan in this form. Mushfiqur Rahim hit five consecutive fours in the penultimate over, bowled by Karim Janat, and crucially took a single off the last ball to give Bangladesh 9 to get off six Rashid Khan deliveries with six wickets in hand. Afghanistan still won by one run to complete a series sweep in the most dramatic of finishes at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Dehradun. Bangladesh typically started a chase of 145, struggling against the spin of Mujeeb Zadran with Tamim Iqbal falling cheaply in the third over. Then Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar were run-out in comically identical fashion with their running partners not quite sharing their eagerness to pinch a single. And when Shakib Al Hasan fell in the ninth over, they were 53 for 4 and heading sombrely towards another predictable finish. Then Mushfiqur turned helmsman, who, with Mahmudullah, forged an 84-run partnership that was predicated on side-stepping Rashid Khan to an extent that they took just three runs off the wizard in the 18th over. That pushed the equation to 30 from the final two overs. Karim Janat was cut away by Mushfiqur for four off the first ball. The second ball was pulled towards deep mid-wicket, the third was whip-driven past long on. The fourth driven over extra cover and the fifth reverse swept, effectively taking the wind off Afghanistan sails. Yet, having done all that, Mushfiqur failed to close out the match, slog sweeping the first ball off the final over to the deep mid-wicket fielder to fall for 46. Rashid was good enough to give just five off the next four balls leaving new man Ariful Haque to get a boundary to win the game. He held his end of the bargain, slog sweeping a flipper to long-on in what looked a six-upon-hit, until Shafiqullah stretched his left arm out to flick the ball into play before stepping over the boundary rope. Mohammad Nabi fired in a throw to catch Mahmudullah short while attempting the game-tying third run, triggering jubilant scenes in the blue corner and a deathly silence in the green. Bangladesh may have been left having to register their highest score of the series to win the game, but they had, by no means, underwhelmed with the ball. Afghanistan, having elected to bat, raced off to a quick start with openers Mohammad Shahzad and Usman Ghani adding another half-century stand. Shahzad, who helped take 18 runs off the returning Mehidy Hasan's first over, was tied down by left-arm spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Nazmul Islam. So, Afghanistan had 50 on the board but that had taken a good seven overs to get to. The need to push the scoring rate ahead consumed Shahzad, who attempted a reverse-sweep off Nazmul. Ghani got himself stuck in quicksand and his attempts to pull his way out of trouble was used by Abu Jayed, who bounced the other Afghanistan opener. Asghar Stanikzai gave the innings much-needed impetus, striking three sixes, two of which came against Ariful Haque. His 17-ball innings of 27 was ended by one shot too many, which forced the hosts into another period of consolidation. Mohammed Nabi fell cheaply and smart death-overs bowling from Shakib (1 for 18) and Abu Jayed (2 for 27) meant Samiullah Shenwari's unbeaten 28-ball 33 was not enough for a score in excess of 150. As it turned out, it was just about enough. Brief scores: Afghanistan 145/6 in 20 overs (Samiullah Shenwari 33*, Asghar Stanikzai 27; Nazmul Islam 2-18) beat Bangladesh 144/6 in 20 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 46, Mahmudullah 45; Rashid Khan 1-24, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 1-25) by 1 run ShareTweetShareRELATED STORIES

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