LAHORE – Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 89 runs in a crucial Group B Asia Cut match at Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday evening.
After losing to Sri Lanka at Pallekele, Bangladesh needed to win this match and that too with a big margin to keep the hope of reaching the Super Four stage alive.
Bangladesh did exactly the same. Now they are second in Group B with the topper Sri Lanka and Afghanistan to play against each other. If Sri Lanka wins, Bangladesh will advance to the Super Four stage. If Afghanistan wins, the net run rate will come into play. In either case, Bangladesh is almost certain to advance to the next stage.
Host Pakistan has already advanced to the second stage after sharing points with India as persistent rains and wet outfields caused the umpires to call off the match after the completion of the first innings.
Chasing a competitive target of 335 runs, Afghanistan was all out for 245 runs in 44.3 overs.
Afghanistan lost Rehmanullah Gurbaz in the second over with just one run on the board, Ibrahim Zadran and Rehmat Shah added 78 valuable runs to give some respectability to the team score.
After losing Rehmat Shah, Zadran and skipper Shahidi also added 52 runs. But after that, Afghanistan continued losing wickets at regular intervals due to the scoreboard and required run rate pressure.
Despite some individual brilliance, Afghanistan fell well short of the target and the entire team was out at 245 runs.
Ibrahim Zadran was the highest scorer with 75 (76). Other notable contributions were skipper Shahidi 51 (60), Rehmat Shah 33 (57) and Rashid Khan 24 (15).
Taskin Ahmed bagged four wickets and Shoriful Islam 3 while Hasan Mahmud and player of the match Mehdy Hasan Mirza took one wicket each.
Earlier, Bangladesh made 334/5 due to hundreds of Mehdy Hasan Mirza and Najmul Hossain Shanto, and cameos of skipper Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
Bangladesh made a steady start after winning the toss and electing to bat first.
Mohammad Naim and Mehdy Hasan Mirza put up 60 runs for the first wicket.
After two quick wickets in four balls and adding just three runs, Mehdy Hasan Mirza and Najmul Hossain Shanto added 194 runs for the third wicket to give Bangladesh an upper hand.
Both the batters scored hundreds to put Bangladesh into a commanding position.
Mirza was retired hurt after scoring 112 runs on 119 balls, and Shanto was run out after making 104 on 105 balls. Cameos from experienced Mushfiqur Rahim 25 (15), and Shakib Al Hasan 32 (18) helped Bangladesh to post 334 runs for five wickets on completion of 50 overs.
It was Afghanistan’s first international match on Pakistani soil.
Bangladesh Team: Mohammad Naim, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shamim Hossain, Afif Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud
Afghanistan Team: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (C), Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi