The Bangladesh cricket team continues to excel in the T20 format, extending their winning streak after triumphing over England and Ireland. Their latest conquest came against Afghanistan, as Bangladesh emerged victorious by six wickets, securing their third consecutive home series win.
Toss: Bangladesh T20 captain, Shakib Al Hasan, won the toss and elected to field first, considering the inclement weather conditions and the likelihood of a reduced overs match. Opting to chase the target, Shakib’s decision aimed to provide his team with a comfortable run chase.
Afghanistan suffers early setbacks
Having lost the toss, Afghanistan was tasked with setting a total. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Hazratullah Zazai opened the innings but failed to establish a solid start. In the very first over, Bangladeshi pacer Taskin Ahmed claimed the wicket of Rahmanullah Gurbaz, drawing first blood for his team.
Taskin Ahmed, a key leader in Bangladesh’s pace attack, demonstrated his strength and ability to deliver bouncers in the early overs. His bouncers posed difficulties for the Afghan batsmen, resulting in his second wicket in the second over by dismissing Hazratullah Zazai.
Consequently, Afghanistan found themselves two wickets down with only 16 runs on the board.
Ibrahim Zadran then attempted to stabilize the innings alongside experienced all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. The pair added 32 runs to the scoreboard before Mustafizur Rahman broke their partnership by dismissing Mohammad Nabi for 16 runs off 22 balls.
Despite Ibrahim Zadran’s efforts to steady the ship, Captain Shakib Al Hasan intervened. In the 11th over, Shakib claimed two wickets in quick succession. He dismissed Ibrahim Zadran with his first delivery of the 10th over, after the batsman had scored 22 runs with a six and a four. Furthermore, Shakib concluded the over by dismissing Najibullah Zadran.
Azmatullah Omarzai, who displayed a remarkable innings in the first match, appeared set for another explosive performance. However, Mustafizur Rahman delivered a superb performance in the death overs, dismissing Azmatullah Omarzai in the 16th over after the batsman had contributed 25 runs.
Relying on their batting prowess, Afghanistan managed to reach 116 runs in 17 overs under the DLS method, setting a target of 117 runs for Bangladesh to achieve in their allotted 17 overs.
Bangladesh’s explosive start
In pursuit of the target, Liton Das and Afif Hossain got Bangladesh off to a flying start, displaying an aggressive approach right from the beginning. The opening pair accumulated 50 runs during the powerplay, propelling their team forward. Their partnership continued to flourish, reaching a commendable 67 runs on the scoreboard.
However, the momentum took a turn when Mujibur Rahman intervened. In the 10th over, Mujib claimed the wickets of Liton Das and Afif Hossain in successive deliveries. Liton contributed 35 runs, while Afif added 24 runs before their dismissals.
Unfortunately, Najmul Hossain Shanto failed to make a significant impact. Nevertheless, Captain Shakib remained resolute at the crease. His unbeaten 18 off 11 deliveries guided Bangladesh to a comfortable six-wicket victory over Afghanistan, securing the T20 series triumph at home.
We had the belief we will chase it down – Shakib
Captain Shakib Al Hasan was confident to winning the match. The captain said, “We lost a couple of wickets in the middle. The outfield made it hard for the spinners to bowl. We had the belief we will chase it down. In the day time, it was dry. There was seam and bounce for the seamers. Today was a day when me and the coaching staff wanted to give the younger guys a chance. But I had to come in. Most of these guys are playing ODI cricket from this squad. They will look to take confidence into the Asia Cup and then the World Cup.”