Shakib, Mushfiqur shine during face off with Afghans, restore semi-final hopes

ICC, Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh tour of India, corruption report, Bangladesh Cricket Board, Bangladesh Premier League
The country's star all-rounder reportedly could be banned for 18 months by the International Cricket Council, compounding the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) problems ahead of the team's high-profile tour. File Photo: PTI

Afghanistan and Bangladesh went toe-to-toe on Monday (June 24) at the Rose Bowl stadium. At this point, this match was just a formality for Afghanistan who are already out of the 2019 world cup. Bangladesh on the other hand still has a chance to make it to the semi-finals. Although those chances are really slim and just a win over Afghanistan will not cut it.

In order to qualify for the semi-finals Bangladesh not only need to win the rest of their remaining matches against India and Pakistan but also have to hope that Sri Lanka lose all of their remaining matches in the series and England don’t win more than one match. Those are a lot of ifs and buts, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible and Bangladesh really played like they are going to fight till the end of the line.

The match had a slow start, the toss was delayed but after waiting for a while, the captains walked into the field. Afghanistan won the toss and the captain chose to bowl first. Given the weather conditions, it wasn’t a bad approach. Any team would have wanted to bowl first and keep the score of the opponents to a chasable target.

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Sluggish beginning, steady game

Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das opened for Bangladesh while Mujeeb Ur Rahman took charge for Afghanistan. The Tigers lost the first wicket pretty early in the match when Liton Das was caught by Hashmatulla on a Mujeeb ball. Although the call was a controversial one as it wasn’t clear if the catch was clean or not, the third umpire eventually went with the call on the field. Liton returned with just 16 runs with the team now at 23/1.

Bangladesh had a rough start and lost another wicket before they could put a hundred on the scoreboard. Tamim Iqbal fell short to a Mohammad Nabi ball. Clean bowled, Iqbal walked back after scoring 36 runs for his team. This was a big wicket for Afghanistan as Bangladesh struggled at 82/2.

Shakib Al Hassan was up next. He played like a captain, giving the team the much-required stability on the scoreboard. Hassan scored a half-century for the Tigers, but the captain was declared out via LBW on a Mujeeb Ur Rahman ball. Hassan didn’t even review it and walked back after scoring 51 runs off 69 balls. Tigers were now 143/3.

Soumya Sarkar also didn’t have any luck in this inning. After playing merely 10 balls he was sent back with just three runs in his bucket. Sarkar fell the same way as the captain — LBW at Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s ball. Bangladesh now stood at 151/4 and the consistent fall of wickets was becoming a growing concern for the team.

Mahmudulla looked like he was playing a steady inning until a mistimed shot caused his departure when he was caught by Mohammad Nabi on Gulbadin Naib ball. Bangladesh was now 207/5 at 43 overs and Mahmudulla walked back after scoring 27 runs off 38 balls.

Mushfiqur Rahim proved to be the trouble Afghanistan wasn’t prepared for. He scored 83 runs off 87 balls, with four fours and one six to his credit before he was caught by Mohammad Nabi on a Dawlat Zardan bowl. Rahim was the backbone of Bangladeshi batting line in this innings and even received a standing ovation from the crowd while walking back to the pavilion. This wicket was a big sigh of relief for the Afghans. Bangladesh was now 251/6 by 48.3 overs. The Tigers ended on 262 at the loss of 7 wickets.

Afghan show

The second innings started with Mashrafe Mortaza on the ball while Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah opening for Afghanistan. They had a better start than the Tigers and for the first time, it looked like the Afghans just might win their first World Cup match. But, despite playing carefully they lost the first wicket at the score of 49. Rahmat walked back after scoring 24 runs off 35 bowls, courtesy Bangladeshi captain Shakib Al Hasan and a catch by Tamim Iqbal.

Hashmatulla Shahidi walked in to take charge and he even did it for a while, but the Afghans were struggling to maintain the run rate. By 20.5 overs, they had only scored 79 runs and lost another wicket. Hashmatulla was stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim on a Mossaddek Hossain ball. The pressure was on as Afghanistan needed 184 runs from 175 balls.

Gulbadin Naib was the next to fall and with him fell the hopes of Afghanistan. Naib scored 47 off 75 balls and unfortunately couldn’t complete his half-century. He was caught by Liton Das on Shakib Al Hassan’s ball. With 28.1 overs gone, Afghanistan had just got 104/3 to show.

Asghar Afghan tried to keep it going for the team but failed to maintain the pace at the scoreboard. After scoring 20 runs off 38 balls, he was caught by Sabbir Rahman on Shakib Al Hassan’s ball. With the majority of batsmen out, chasing the total was now more difficult than ever, with Afghanistan needing 146 runs off 106 balls.

Samiullah Shinwari struggled to play it on for the team but didn’t get the required support from the other end. Ikram Ali Khil was run out by Liton Das. Shinwari tried to flick but missed and the ball hit his pads. The bowler appealed and got rejected by the umpire. Ikram in the meantime started running, but Shinwari didn’t seem interested. But before Ikram could make it back, Liton threw the ball and Afghanistan lost its sixth wicket with 132/6 at 35.1 overs.

Najibullah Zardan made efforts to bring the run rate back to life with Shinwari but was stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim on a Shakib Al Hassan ball. Zardan walked back after scoring 23 runs off 23 balls, leaving the pitch with 188/7 at 42.4 overs.

The captain walked in but failed to play a captains innings. Rashid Khan only scored 2 runs of 3 balls before he was caught by Mashrafe Mortaza on a Mustafizur Rahman ball. The captain walked out leaving his team at 191/8.

Bangladesh sent back the entire Afghanistan team by the 47th over at the score of 200, seizing the victory by 62 runs. Bangladeshi Captain Shakib Al Hassan was named man of the match for his stellar performance. Afghanistan will have to wait for another match to taste a victory but for now, Bangladesh keeps their hopes alive to make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup 2019 with 7 points.

Also read: Asian clash to be formality for Afghanistan, must-win for Bangladesh

Not just team, I expect a lot from myself: Tamim

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