Bangladesh's bowling and fielding was just too good for Afghanistan © AFP
Bangladesh’s bowling and fielding were just too good for Afghanistan © AFP

 

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

 

Mar 16, 2014

 

Bangladesh strolled home to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the opening encounter of the ICC World T20 2014 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur. This victory almost assures Bangladesh a passage through to the super-10s as only one team from this qualifying group would go through. Hong Kong and Nepal make up the rest of the teams in this group and for Bangladesh to have any chance of exiting, one of those two teams would have to beat them. Once Bangladesh bowled Afghanistan out for 72, it was their game to lose at the T20 World Cup.

 

This is a refreshing change for Bangladesh as they came into this tournament following a woeful Asia Cup 2014 campaign and have avenged the defeat to Afghanistan. This is a good start to their ICC T20 World Cup campaign.

 

It was a convincing performance by Bangladesh as Afghanistan were in a hurry from ball one. The wicket had quite a bit of help for the spinners and even when Bangladesh commenced their run-chase of 73, Mohammad Nabi was getting that turn and bounce. But, such a paltry score was never going to trouble the Bangladesh batsman.

 

Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque could afford to take their time early, but once the latter smashed Nabi for six in the fifth over, Bangladesh opened the floodgates and got to the target in only 12 overs. Tamim was dismissed leg-before, but that was the only wicket to fall. Anamul smashed 44 not out and finished the game with a six in the 12th over.

 

Earlier in the day, Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and put Bangladesh in. Going by the ground’s history, one felt they could have put up a good score. However, Afghanistan’s intent was too hurried. It was almost as if they wanted to smash every other ball over the park.

 

The first ball was an indication of what was to come later in the innings. Mohammad Shahzad scooped the first ball high in the air and was caught at mid-on. And, in a surprising move, Afghanistan shuffled their batting line-up. Gulbadin Naib was sent in at No 3, ahead of Nabi, Nawroz Mangal and Karim Sadiq. And, he tried to smash everything, collecting 21 off 22. At 31 for one, one felt Afghanistan had done decently well in five overs, but it all fell apart when Shakib Al Hasan snared two in two.

 

Shakib was getting turn and snared three for eight. Abdul Razzak got some great turn. Nabi was trapped by the odd one that didn’t as it held its line and hit him in front. Then, Samiullah Shenwari was dismissed by one that pitched on line and straightened. Also, Bangladesh’s fielding was brilliant. Mangal was dismissed first ball when he was run-out off a direct hit when he turned one to short-fine-leg. The throw from Sabbir Rahman shattered the stumps at the non-striker’s end.

 

Then Sadiq’s stroke-filled, albeit 10 from 23 balls, came to an end when Farhad Reza scored a direct hit from deep mid-wicket. That innings did sum-up Afghanistan’s day as he tried to hit everything, but only managed to score 10. Afghanistan will go to the drawing board, even as Bangladesh celebrate. This is a good sign for the host nation early in the tournament.

 

Brief scores:

 

Afghanistan 72 in 17.1 overs (Gulbadin Naib 21, Shakib Al Hasan 3 for 8, Abdur Razzak 3 for 20) lost to Bangladesh. 78 for 1 in 12 overs (Anamul Haque 44; Samiluuah Shenwari 1 for 14) by 9 wickets.

 

Man of the Match: Shakib Al Hasan.

 

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