Rashid the star again as Afghanistan drubs Bangladesh

Rashid's three for 13 turned out to be the difference between the two sides as Afghanistan completed its first T20 victory against the Asian opponents in the maiden international game at the Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium.

Afghanistan's Rashid Khan exults with his teammates after dismissing Mushfiqur Rahim of Bangladesh.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Rashid Khan has travelled nearly half the world over the last week, having travelled from Mumbai, the venue for the Indian Premier League final, to London for the charity T20 match before touching down on Dehradun for Afghanistan's T20 series against Bangladesh. The young leggie showed no signs of fatigue as his effective spell yet again turned out to be the defining factor in his team's 45-run win.

Rashid's three for 13 turned out to be the difference between the two sides as Afghanistan completed its first T20 victory against the Asian opponents in the maiden international game at the Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium. On a virgin pitch which played slow as expected, Afghanistan did exceedingly well to put on 167 for eight, thanks to vital contributions by a majority of batsmen.

SCORECARD and BALL-BY-BALL DETAILS

When Rashid came in to bowl into the chase amidst loud roar from the stands, Bangladesh was 80 for three at the halfway stage. With a set Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease and Afghanistan having plundered 71 runs off its last five overs earlier, the game was in the balance. But Rashid virtually sealed the fate with his first two balls.

Mushfiqur attempted an audacious reverse sweep off Rashid's first ball, missed and walked back once the ball thudded into his pad. The next ball, Sabbir Rahman was stranded on the backfoot to be adjudged leg-before. Though Mosaddek Hossain saved the hat-trick, neither he nor Mahmudullah could get Bangladesh back on track.

 

When Rashid ended Mosaddek's misery in the 15th over with a googly that the batsman heaved straight to Usman Ghani at long-on, the bowler became the fastest to 50 T20I wickets. Left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran then cleaned up the tail, even breaking the leg-stump while getting through Rubel Hossain's defence.

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Earlier in the evening, cameos by Mohammad Shahzad, captain Asghar Stanikzai, Shamiullah Shenwari and Shafiqullah helped Afghanistan raise a commendable total. Shahzad and Ghani gave them a solid foundation with a 62-run opening stand before Stanikzai took on a largely inexperienced pace attack.

Of the 11 fours and nine sixes that were hit by the Afghanistan batsmen, the two stand-out strokes were a whip by Shahzad off Abul Hasan in the opening over and an inside-out lofted drive by Shenwari off Abu Jayed in the 18th over. The latter set the tone for the last three overs that fetched Afghanistan 52 runs.

Brief scores: Afghanistan 167 for eight in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 40, Samiullah Shenwari 36, Usman Ghani 26, Asghar Stanikzai 25; Mahmadullah two for 1, Abul Hasan two for 40) bt Bangladesh 122 all out in 19 overs (Liton Das 30, Mahmudullah 29; Rashid Khan three for 13, Shapoor Zadran three for 40, Mohammad Nabi two for 21).