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Bangladesh pip Afghanistan to keep hopes alive

23 Sep 2018 CricBuzz

Bangladesh won a thriller to keep their hopes alive of a place in the finale by defeating Afghanistan by 2 runs in a closely fought game on Sunday (September 23). Fifties from Hashmatullah Shahidi and Mohammad Shahzad laid the platform but the chase was derailed despite only eight needed off the final over for a win.

Earlier, Bangladesh batted first and scored 249 for 7 after being in a spot for most part of it. They were 87 for 5 before fifties from Mahmudullah (74) and Imrul Kayes (72*) saved them the blushes and took them to a score which looked defendable.

The top-order of Bangladesh once again crumbled and were for 18 for 2. Nazmul Hossain picked up his third consecutive single digit score and Mohammad Mithun failed to utilize his chance at number 3. Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim resurrected the innings with a 63-run stand but the slipped again as Liton fell to Rashid, in his first over.

Further catastrophe struck Bangladesh when Shakib was run-out for a blob and Rahim followed suit by running himself out as well. The third umpire did have various checks before ruling Rahim out as it seemed Rashid had whipped the bails off with his right shoulder and not his arm with the ball in his right hand. But the third umpire was convinced it was arm and Rahim had to trudge off.

Mahmudullah joined the comeback man - Kayes - and they conjured up 128 runs for the 6th wicket. From being in a position where they could have been shunted out for a low score, Bangladesh put on a par score of 249 which in hindsight was just about enough.

Afghanistan started off on a miserable note like Bangladesh and lost Ihsanullah early who played an uppish drive to be caught at backward point. After a few run-outs had derailed Bangladesh's s innings, Afghanistan decided to return the favour as Rahmat Shah was caught short of his crease from a direct hit by Shakib from backward point.

Mohammad Shahzad took on the burden of overseeing the chase but his intentions were undone immediately after he got to his fifty. Mahmudullah, the bowler, got one to skid through and beat the defences of Shahzad on the attempted cut. Afghanistan were 89 for 3 in the 25th when Shahzad departed when Shahidi was joined by Asghar Afghan.

Both Afghan (39) and Shahidi (71) fell as the run-rate threatened to go out of hand. While the skipper fell to an audacious slog, Shahidi fell trying to employ the paddle, missed it to be clean bowled. 58 off the final 39 balls with Nabi and Shenwari in the middle meant, it could have been anyone's game.

The two Afghan all-rounders paced their chase well to strike timely blows and inflict major damages. Nabi though fell for a 28-ball 38 with 12 needed off 10 balls when Rashid Khan walked in and Afghanistan still seemed to have it covered.

Mustafizur Rahman bowled the final over with 8 needed. He conceded a couple off the first ball and then nipped out Rashid with a short ball, caught and bowled. Shenwari and Gulbadin Naib got only two runs off the next three balls leaving four to get off the final ball. Shenwari missed the final one - a short ball, skidding across the right hander - and Bangladesh exulted in relief and delight as they kept their hopes alive.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh: 250/7 in 50 overs (Mahmudullah 74, Kayes 72*; Aftab Alam 3/54) beat Afghanistan (Shahidi 71, Shahzad 53; Mustafizur Rahman 2/44) by 3 runs


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