It was an end for Afghanistan as for as their final and winning the Asia Cup 2018, no doubt they defeated by their opponents in successive games in a close encounter. Both times Afghanistan was nearly there to cross the line, but it wouldn’t be possible. Tonight it was some brilliant death bowling by Bangladesh who halted them to cross the line and failed 3 runs short of chasing 250 in their 50 overs.
It was the first time when Afghanistan had to bat second, as Bangladesh captain won the toss and elected to bat first against them. But Afghan bowlers started really well as they picked up two early wickets at 18 in six overs, later on Liton Das joined by most experienced Bangladesh middle order batsman Mushfiq at the crease, both put 63 and gave Bangladesh a bit of recovery, although it wasn’t the case as Das threw away his wicket to Rashid Khan at 81, followed by unfortunate run outs of Shakib (0) and Mushfiq (33), left Bangladesh 87 for 5. It was the time when Afghanistan team was right on the top of the game, but upcoming batsmen Imrul and Mahmudullah had other thoughts, they both laid a foundation to the recovery and then after launched themselves and propelled their team’s total from 87 to 215, later on other batsmen helped their team to reach at 249, which was somehow a par score at the Abu Dhabi.
Afghanistan had lost early wickets in reply to 249 of the Bangladesh, but Hashmatullah Shahidi’s 71 had given them hope. But his dismissal, with the score on 192-5, put Afghanistan on the back foot. Mohammed Nabi (39) and Samiullah Shinwari (23 not out) had the task of taking the Afghanistan over the line when they required 50 in 30 balls, and then 31 of 18 and 19 of 12. Muhammad Nabi cracked Shakbi Al Hasan’s 2nd delivery of the 2nd last over the long-off fence for six, but fell in the next to a fine catch by Nazmul Hossain fielding in the same area. That brought Rashid Khan to the crease and he took strike at the start of the final over. Rashid took two of the first delivery but played then was caught and bowled. It ultimately came down to Afghanistan needing a boundary off the final delivery, but Shinwari failed to make any contact with the ball, which means Bangladesh won the game by only 3 runs. Bangladesh is to play their last game in super four round against Pakistan, which is now became a virtual semifinal as India qualified for the final after winning their game against first Bangladesh and tonight against Pakistan. Afghanistan lost their both games so game will be against India is just going to be only a face saving game for them.
Player of the Match: This was his one of the favorite innings as his team was able to post a good total to challenge Afghanistan batting, Mahmudullah was able to get the player of the Match award.
Mahmudullah Riyad: “I think the weather was quite hot today. I am feeling dried up. We crossed the line and that is pleasing. We knew they got some big hitters and got a partnership in the middle, so good we came out on top. It is always a happy feeling to contribute to the team. We need to bring our A game to beat Pakistan.”
Bangladesh 249/7 in 50 overs (Mahmudullah 74, Imrul Kyes 72*; Aftab Alam 54/3, Rashid Khan 46/1)
Afghanistan 246/7 in 50 overs (Hashmatullah Shahidi 71, Mohammad Shahzad 53; Mustafizur Rahman 44/2)
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