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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mar 16, 2014
Bangladesh are half-way through at avenging their Asia Cup defeat to Afghanistan. The stage was set for the first game of the ICC World T20 2014, but Afghanistan disappointed after they were put in to bat first as the Bangladesh spinners and their fielding dominated them.
Afghanistan started off as if they were in some hurry. From ball one, there was the unmistakable sense that they were going to charge at everything. Mohammad Shahzad scooped the first ball of the innings high over the off-side and was taken at mid-on. That was just the start of things to come!
Gulbadin Naib was sent in at No 3, ahead of Nawroz Mangal, Karim Sadiq and skipper Nabi. And, it was clear that he had to smash it around. But, his approach was too hurried. He survived a dropped chance and a run-out attempt. There was a lot of uncertainty in the running and along with Najibullah Tarakai, he was attacking everything.
Naib did hit a few to the boundary and with a few good hits he did get into the twenties. At the end of five overs, Afghanistan had moved to a decent 31 for one, but that is where Shakib Al Hasan came into play. After being hit for four, as Sabbir Rahman dropped a catch on the boundary, Naib then offered a catch at wide-long on. Tarakai then got a leading edge off the next and was taken at cover.
At 36 for three, Afghanistan had their most reliable batsmen, Mangal and Nabi, in the centre. But, off the first ball of the next over, Mangal turned one to fine leg and sprinted for his life. Sabbir picked it up and darted it to shatter the stumps at the bowler’s end. From there on, Afghanistan never recovered.
Bangladesh maintained the pressure with some fantastic bowling. Both Shakib and Abdur Razzak were in great touch and kept Afghanistan in check. The Afghan batsmen were trying too many things. Take for example, Sadiq, who seemed to be smashing everything but scored only nine off 22 balls.
But, there were a few deliveries that stood out. Razzak got one to hold its line and trapped Nabi in front. And later, he had Samiullah Shenwari leg-before with one that straightened. And, what to say about their fielding. After Sabbir’s direct hit, Ferhad Reza made a mark as he smashed the stumps down from mid-wicket to have Sadiq.
It was a procession as the batsman kept heading towards the pavillion. They were bowled out for 72 when Shapoor Zadran was bowled. Unfortunately, the bail deflected and hit Mushfiqur Rahim in the eye.
Afghanistan 72 in 17.1 overs (Gulbadin Naib 21, Shakib Al Hasan 3 for 8, Abdur Razzak 3 for 20) vs Bangladesh.
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