Friday, 22 October 2021

Nabi, Mujeeb lead Afghanistan to victory against Bangladesh


DHAKA: Afghanistan continued their success story against Bangladesh, handing the home side a 25-run defeat in their second match of the tri-nation Twenty20 tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday.

Mohammad Nabi hit an unbeaten 84 off 54 balls to help Afghanistan recover from 40-4 and post 164-6 before their bowlers wrapped up Bangladesh’s innings for 139 runs in 19.5 overs for their 12 successive wins- a world record in Twenty20 internationals. Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who finished with career best 4-15, left Bangladesh’s top-order unsettled with a three-wicket burst in his opening spell, reducing the side to 4-32 inside five overs, before Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman offered some resistance.

Bangladesh sent Mushfiqur Rahim in the opening but it could bring no solution to their top-order woes as he made five runs after Liton Das was dismissed in the second ball of the innings for a duck. Sakib (15), and Soumya Sarkar (0) followed them in quick succession before Mahmudullah and Sabbir stemmed the rot though they never looked convincing against Afghanistan’s top-class bowling attack.

Gulbadin Naib broke their 58-run fifth wicket partnership by removing Mahmudullah, who made highest 44 runs off 39 balls and Sabbir (24) returned to the dressing room soon by becoming Mujeeb’s fourth wicket in the bowler’s final over. Naib, who claimed 2-27 then removed Afif Hossain for 16 while Rashid Khan (2-23) took a return catch of his own bowling to dismiss Mohammad Saifuddin for two and bowled Mosaddek for 12 two balls later to ensure there was no late heroic for Bangladesh this time.

Nabi earlier overshadowed Saifuddin, who finished with career-best 4-33 with the ball, with his fourth fifty in Twenty20 international ornamented by three fours and seven sixes. Nabi received great support from Asghar Afghan after early strikes from Saifuddin and Sakib al Hasan (2-18), as the duo put 79 runs for the fifth wicket. Saifuddin gave Bangladesh a dream start by bowling out opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz for a duck in the first ball after Afghanistan captain Rashid won the toss and opted to bat first.

Sakib dismissed the other opener Hazratullah Zazai (one) in the next over. Saifuddin then forced Najeeb Tarakai to give a catch to Sabbir at deep mid-wicket after he tried to hit the left-arm spinner for another six of the same bowler. Sakib removed dangerman Najibullah Zadran for five to hold the visitors to 40-4 inside the power-play. Taijul Islam thought he had dismissed Asghar on 31 when the former Afghanistan skipper was caught at deep by Sabbir, but replay indicated that the bowler had overstepped.

Saifuddin finally removed Afghan for 40 to end their partnership but Nabi stood tall to carry Afghanistan’s hope. He scored 36 runs off 14 after Saifuddin took his fourth wicket by bowling out Naib for a duck. Both Bangladesh and Afghanistan won their respective opening match of the tournament against Zimbabwe.

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