Hashmatullah Shahidi
Hashmatullah Shahidi top-scored for Afghanistan (AFP Photo)

Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib plundered 97 runs in the final 10 overs as Afghanistan posted a strong 255/7 against Bangladesh at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Birthday boy Rashid scored a quickfire half-century – an unbeaten 57 off 32 in an unbroken partnership of 95 runs with Naib who scored 42 not out.

Regular strikes from Shakib Al Hasan had kept Bangladesh’s hopes of keeping Afghanistan to a low total. When he dismissed Mohammed Nabi lbw on 10, his fourth scalp of the innings, Afghanistan had been reduced to 160/7. However, the dismissal brought in Rashid and in his company, Naib shifted gears with consecutive boundaries off debutant Abu Hider to end the 42nd over.

Rubel Hossain and captain Mashrafe Mortaza were each creamed for 17 runs while, in the final over, Rashid clubbed four fours – the third of which took him to his third ODI fifty – as Mortaza finished with expensive figures of 0/67 from his eight overs.

The total looked a distant possibility for the majority of Afghan innings. Abu Hider had a memorable start to his ODI career as he struck twice in his first two over, removing Ihsanullah Janat (8) and Rahmat Shah (10) cheaply.

Mohammad Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi then began the recovery. While Shahzad fell to Shakib on 37, Shahidi continued his good form to score his third ODI fifty. The duo added 51 runs for the third wicket to soften the early blows.

Two more strikes from Shakib, who finished with 4/42, reduced Afghanistan to 139/5 and the quick departures of Shahidi (58) and Nabi (10) dampened their hopes of a competitive total.

But Rashid, who turns 20 today, was in destructive mood and made sure Afghanistan finished on a high.

Both Afghanistan and Bangladesh have already qualified for the next round – Super Fours.

Brief Scores: Afghanistan 255/7 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 58, Rashid Khan 57*; Shakib Al Hasan 4/42) vs