Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto delivered when it mattered the most by hitting centuries as Bangladesh registered an emphatic 89-run win over Afghanistan to keep itself alive in the Asia Cup here on Sunday.
While Miraz amassed 112 runs off 119 deliveries, Shanto picked up where he left off in the previous game, with a 105-ball 104 to take Bangladesh to a commanding 334 for five after opting to bat.
Bangladesh bowlers, led by Taskin Ahmed (4/44 in 8.3 overs) and Shoriful Islam (3/36 in 9 overs), then joined the party as they struck at regular intervals to bowl out Afghanistan for 245 in 44.3 overs despite the best efforts of Ibrahim Zadran (75 off 74) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (51).
SCORECARD | BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN ASIA CUP 2023
After the victory, Bangladesh was in second spot in Group B, while Afghanistan needs to win its final game against Sri Lanka for a chance to progress in the Super Four stage.
Chasing 335, Afghanistan struggled to maintain the required run rate which kept on increasing as Bangladesh bowlers piled on dot balls to build pressure.
Afghanistan did not have the best of starts as the big-hitting Rahmanullah Gurbaz (1) was trapped leg before by Shoriful Islam in the second over. But Zadran and Rahmat Shah (33) batted intelligently to help Afghanistan recover from the early blow.
They took their side from 1/1 to 79/2 but just when they looked to make inroads, Taskin bowled a back of length delivery and just as Rahmat tried to slog it, the ball crashed into the top of off-stump.
At the halfway mark, Afghanistan needed nine runs per over to win. It tried to up the ante with Zadran hitting Miraz for a four, followed by a six over deep midwicket to collect 14 runs from the over.
But the Bangladesh bowlers were right on their mark on the night. Hasan Mahmud (1/61) accounted for the dangerous Zardan, which led to a mini batting collapse.
Najibullah Zadran (17), Shahidi, Gulbadin Naib (15), Mohammad Nabi (3) and Karim Janat (1) departed within the space of six overs.
Earlier, after an underwhelming batting display in their tournament opener, the Bangladesh batting unit gave a good account of itself. Afghanistan bowlers were guilty of leaking runs, especially left-arm medium pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi (0/53 in 6 overs), as skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi struggled to find answers.
HIGHLIGHTS | BANGLADESH VS AFGHANISTAN ASIA CUP 2023
Even star spinner Rashid Khan (0/66 in 10 overs) was ineffective as he remained wicketless. Playing in the scorching heat, Miraz put up a 60-run opening stand with Mohammad Naim (28) to give Bangladesh a strong start. However, Afghanistan put Bangladesh in a spot of bother by claiming two wickets in quick succession.
Off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (1/62 in 10 overs) gave Afghanistan the first breakthrough as he cleaned up Naim with a perfect googly.
Medium pacer Gulbadin Naib (0/59 in 8 overs) then induced an outside edge to send Towhid Hridoy packing without opening his account. Miraz then began the rebuilding act with Shanto. The two stitched a 194-run partnership.
The way both Shanto and Mehidy batted, it looked unlikely that any of the Afghan bowlers would be able to snare their wickets and that’s what exactly happened.
Miraz retired hurt in the 43rd over due to cramps in his left hand. A few overs later, Shanto attempted a reverse sweep but slipped as he set off to take a run, putting an end to his spectacular innings.
Despite three run-outs, the Afghan fielding was found wanting on several occasions. Skipper Shakib Al Hasan (11 not out) and Shamim Hossain (10) took Bangladesh past the 300-run mark.
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