Bangladesh raised the hopes of breaking the four-match losing streak against Afghanistan after restricted the opponents to below par 138-7 in the last match of the group phase of Tri-nation T20 series at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Saturday.
With both teams confirming the final at the expense of Zimbabwe, the match turned out to be the dress rehearsal of final, which is on September 24 in Dhaka.Afif Hossain, an occasional off-spinner, claimed 2-9 in three overs to lead the charge while the other bowlers played their part intriguingly well to curb the aggression of the Afghanistan’s power-packed batting line up.
Afghanistan however made a flying start after Shakib Al Hasan decided to send them in batting.
Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz combined for a 75-run partnership for the opening stand, playing just 57 ball and it seemed Afghanistan took the upper-hand of the match.
But like the way they tasted a collapse after a whirlwind opening stand in the last match against Zimbabwe, they faced similar fate against Bangladesh also.
Afif Hossain who impressed with his batting against Zimbabwe in the first match, gave the side a much-needed breakthrough, dealing a double blow.
He claimed the wicket of Zazai and Asghar Afghan in the space of three balls to leave them at 75-2.Zazai smashed 47 off 35 with six fours and two sixes while Asghar Afghan was out with naught.
Bangladesh bowlers them came up with disciplined bowling effort to stifle the Afghans.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz appeared to make a resistance but Mustafizur Rahman removed him with a return catch after he scored 29 off 27, clobbering two fours and as many sixes.
No one from the middle order however could stand tall in the face of some good bowling from Bangladeshi bowlers who looked determined to make it their day.
Shafiqullah Shafiq was the other notable scorer with an unbeaten 23.
Mohammad Saifuddin, Shaiful Islam, Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman took one wicket apiece to complement Afif.