Asia Cup: Afghanistan cruise into Super Four after beating Bangladesh

Najibullah was the star with an unbeaten 43 from just 17 deliveries that was studded with six sizzling sixes and a boundary

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Afghanistan's Najibullah Zadran plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh. (AFP)
Afghanistan's Najibullah Zadran plays a shot during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh. (AFP)

James Jose

Published: Wed 31 Aug 2022, 12:37 AM

Afghanistan cruised into the Super Four stage of the DP World Asia Cup with a clinical victory over Bangladesh at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday night.

Chasing a modest target of 128, Najibullah Zadran’s blitz turned the tables on Bangladesh, who thought they could take the game deep.

Najibullah came up with an unbeaten 43 from just 17 deliveries that was studded with six sizzling sixes and a boundary, while Ibrahim Zadran scored an unbeaten 42 from 41 deliveries with four boundaries. Afghanistan won by seven wickets and with nine balls to spare.

Earlier, young Afghanistan off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and star leg spinner Rashid Khan shone as Bangladesh collapsed after opting to bat first.

The 21-year-old snapped up three wickets, while the 23-year-old Rashid too picked up three wickets as Bangladesh mustered 127 for seven in their 20 overs.

Bangladesh were in danger of being shot out for a paltry score if not for a brilliant rearguard from Mosaddek Hossain, who clubbed an unbeaten 48 from just 31 deliveries that contained four boundaries and a six.

Mahmudullah made 25 from 27 balls. Hossain and Mahmudullah were involved in a 36-run partnership for the sixth wicket, while he also put on 38 runs with Mahedi Hasan for the seventh wicket.

Bangladesh had a nightmarish start losing wickets in a flurry. They couldn’t get going in the face of some outstanding bowling by Mujeeb and then Rashid.

Mujeeb had opener Mohammad Naim castled and then had the other opener Anamul Haque. Captain Shakib Al Hasan played two beautiful strokes that fetched him boundaries and looked in good touch. But he couldn’t carry on, becoming Mujeeb’s third victim of the match, bowled through the gate by the off-spinner.

After the early damage, Rashid Khan too got in on the act, having Mushfiqur Rahim as well as Afif Hossain leg before.

Mosaddek Hossain and Mahmudullah joined together to resurrect their innings and put on 36 runs for the sixth wicket before Mahmudullah was caught by Ibrahim Zadran off Rashid Khan.

Mossadek then added 38 runs for the seventh wicket with Mahedi Hasan who made 14 from 12 balls with two boundaries.

Mossadek’s defiant knock meant Bangladesh had something to fight with.

They managed to remove opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz, stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim off Shakib.

The other opener Hazratullah Zazai and Ibrahim Zadran were involved in a 30-run stand for the second wicket with Zazai making 23 from 26 balls with three boundaries. After Zazai’s dismissal, out leg before to Mosaddek, captain Mohammad Nabi promoted himself up the order but the move backfired as he fell cheaply for eight.

Bangladesh sensed a chance but Najibullah and Ibrahim snuffed out any hopes with a match-winning unbroken partnership of 69 from 33 deliveries for the fourth wicket.

Bangladesh take on Sri Lanka in a crucial match in Dubai on Thursday, which will decide who go through to the Super Four.

Brief scores:

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by 7 wickets

Bangladesh: 127-7 in 20 overs (Mosaddek Hossain 48 not out, Mahmudullah 25, Mahedi Hasan 14, Afif Hossain 12, Shakib Al Hasan 11, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3-16, Rashid Khan 3-22)

Afghanistan: 131-3 in 18.3 overs (Najibullah Zadran 43 not out, Ibrahim Zadran 42 not out, Hazratullah Zazai 23)

Toss: Bangladesh

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