Bangladesh took on Afghanistan in a must-win encounter of the Super 4. Both teams had lost one game each prior to this game and another defeat would have meant curtains to the chances. Afghanistan was the favorite going into the match going by the recent form. They almost pulled it off but Mustafizur Rahman bowled a brilliant last over to keep the side’s hopes alive.
Initially, Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat. They were off to a terrible start when Nazmul Hossain fell for 6 in the 5th over. The No.3 Mohammad Mithun lasted just 2 balls and got out for 1 courtesy Mujeeb Ur Rahman. They were down to 18/2 and Afghanistan was right on top.
The opener Liton Das stood firm and found the support of Mushfiqur Rahim. The duo weathered the storm and added 63 runs for the 3rd wicket. Rashid Khan came to the fore and removed Liton for 41 in the 19th over. Disaster struck for Bangladesh as Shakib and Rahim got run out in quick succession.
Kayes-Mahmudullah set it up
Bangladesh was tottering at 87/5 after 21 overs. They once again found a pair that bailed them out of trouble. Imrul Kayes, who was added to the squad prior to the game, looked in top form. Along with Mahmudullah, he rebuilt the innings and brought his side back in the game.
The partnership for 6th wicket yielded 128 runs before Mahmudullah departed for 74 in the 47th over. Some late strikes from Kayes took the score to 249/7 at the end of 50 overs. The left-hander stayed unbeaten at 72 and justified his selection.
Afghanistan, in reply, was rocked back early when Mustafizur Rahman removed Ihsanullah Janat for 8. Rahmat Shah became the 3rd run-out victim of the match. In the 8th over, Afghanistan found themselves at 26/2. Mohammad Shahzad was still at the crease and found the support of Hashmatullah Shahidi.
The game swung like a pendulum
The duo occupied the crease and even though, the scoring rate wasn’t great, they kept the side in the game. Shahzad scored 53 off 81 balls before falling prey to Mahmudullah in the 25th over. Shahidi was batting well and now he had the company of the skipper Asghar Afghan.
They added 78 runs for the 4th wicket as the game hung in balance. To cope with the increasing run-rate, Asghar looked to up the ante but Mashrafe Mortaza accounted for his wicket for 39 in the 40th over. Afghanistan needed 81 runs from the last 10 overs but they suffered a massive blow when Mortaza castled Shahidi for 71 in the 44th over.
It was going down to the wire as the pendulum swung in every over. Mohammad Nabi played a gem of a knock and brought it down to 12 from 10 after slamming Shakib for a six in the penultimate over. But he couldn’t control his instincts and got out for 38 off 28 balls in the hunt to finish strongly.
Mustfizur Rahman delivered the final blow
The Afghans needed 8 to win from the final over to be bowled by Mustafizur Rahman. Rashid Khan collected 2 runs off the first ball to bring it down to 6 from 5. Rahman got Rashid out next ball to make it interesting. A leg bye and a dot and a run followed and suddenly, the batting side needed 4 from the last ball. The Fizz kept his nerves and bowled a dot ball. Bangladesh just about made it to the finish line and set up a virtual semi-final against Pakistan.
Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat first
Bangladesh: 249/7 in 50 overs
Mahmudullah 74 (81), Imrul Kayes 72 (89)
Aftab Alam 54/3 (10), Mujeeb Ur Rahman 35/1 (10)
Afghanistan: 255/7 in 50 overs
Hashmatullah Shahidi 71 (99), Mohammad Shahzad 53 (81)
Mustafizur Rahman 44/2 (9), Mashrafe Mortaza 62/2 (10)
Bangladesh won by 3 runs
Player of the Match: Mahmudullah