DHAKA, Aug 30, 2022: Bangladesh suffered a seven-wicket defeat to Afghanistan in their opening match of the Asia Cup, paying the price of their shaky batting at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE on Tuesday.
After opting to bat first, the Tigers were restricted to a below par 127-7, which Afghanistan gunned down effortlessly, reaching 131-3 in 18.3 overs.
The six-hitting spree made the eventual difference on this slow track. While Afghanistan struck six sixes, Bangladesh hit just one. The slow track in Sharjah, which looked like a Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla pitch, gave Bangladesh a ray of hope to overcome the Afghan juggernaut but the batters' mindless batting cost them the game.
Mosaddek Hossain Saikat was the only one to stand tall against a pumped-up Afghan bowling attack, scoring an unbeaten 48 off 31 that included four fours and one six. But he failed to come up with some power-hitting in the death overs, which eventually left Bangladesh ruing for at least 20 runs more.
Mahmudullah Riyad's 27 ball-25 was the next best. However the ultimate damage was done when Bangladesh were reduced to 28-4 after opting to bat first on slow track.
After Bangladesh openers Naim Sheikh and Anamul Haque negotiated the first over of Fazalhaq Farooqi without any trouble, things looked positive. Farooqi earlier in the first match of Afghanistan demolished Sri Lankan top order in his first spell.
But Bangladesh were undone by Mujeeb ur Rahman's off-spin. Mujeeb finished with 3-16 and firstly took both of the Bangladeshi openers for single digit figure in his first two overs.
Legspinner Rashid Khan then appeared in the stage with his stock weapon-googly. His first victim was Mushfiqur Rahim who scored just 1 before being undone by the googly.
Afif Hossain who was appointed as the vice-captain of the side, was also had no answer of Rashid's googly before he was removed for 12.
With 53-5, Bangladesh looked to be bowled out below 100 but Mosaddek and Mahmudullah Riyad resisted. However Rashid Khan also took the wicket of Mahmudullah for 25 to finish with 3-22.
Mahedi Hasan scored 14 off 12 and accompanied Mosaddek to help the side propel past 100 runs mark.
Bangladesh spinners ruled the Afghan batters until the arrival of Najibullah Zadran who demolished the Tigers attack with six-laden 43 not out off just 17. He indeed hit all of the six sixes that Afghanistan smashed in this match. Apart from six sixes, he also hit a boundary. Ibrahim Zadran made an unbeaten 42 off 41.
Shakib gave the side breakthrough, dismissing Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 11 and then Mosaddek took out Hazratullah Zazai for 23. While Afghanistan lost two wickets for 45 runs, they were well behind of required run rate, giving Bangladesh an opportunity to win this game with limited resources on the board.
The situation for Afghans further worsened when Saifuddin trapped Afghan skipper Mohammad Nabi leg-before for 8. But Najibullah dented Bangladesh all plan with his power-packed batting.