Miraz, Shakib script Tigers facile win against Afghanistan

NEWS DESK

Mehidy Hasan Miraz came up with stellar all-rounder performance and skipper Shakib Al Hasan played a key role with the ball as Bangladesh got off to their World Cup mission with a comprehensive six-wicket victory against Afghanistan at Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala today (Oct 7).

Shakib (3-30) and off spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz (3-25) shared six wickets between them to dismiss Afghanistan for 156 in 37.2 overs.

Miraz followed his three scalps with 57 while Najmul Hossain Shanto continued his rich vein of form hitting 59 not out as Bangladesh cantered to the victory in just 34.4 overs, making 158-4.

Shanto, the new leader of Bangladesh batting, fittingly hit two consecutive boundaries to seal the deal in grand style.

Miraz and Shanto shared 97-run for the third wicket stand to edge the side closer to the victory after Bangladesh were reduced to 27-2.

Tanzid Hasan Tamim was trapped run out for 5 while Liton Das (13) was clean bowled by Fazal Haq Farooqi.

The two dismissals in quick succession gave Afghanistan a ray of hope but that was dented by the partnership of Shanto and Miraz.

Afghanistan however led their own downfall also, helping Miraz survive twice. Miraz offered two easy chances on 16 and 23 but Afghan fielders failed to hold onto the catch.

Shortly after reaching third fifty off 58 balls, Miraz finally was dismissed when Rahman Shah pulled off a stunner at mid-off off Naveen-ul-Haque’s bowling. He hit five boundaries for his 57 off 73.

Shanto’s innings was almost chanceless but Bangladesh also lost Shakib Al Hasan who played one shot too many against Azmatullah Omarzai. Nevertheless, it didn’t cost much as Bangladesh raced to the victory effortlessly.

Shanto who played 83 balls for his unbeaten 59, smashed three fours and one six. Alongside him, Mushfiqur Rahim was not out on 2.

Bangladesh pacers also played their part well in the victory with Shoriful Islam picking 2-34, Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman claiming one apiece.

Opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the top-scorer for Afghanistan with 47. Ibrahim Zadran and Azmatullah Omarzai scored identical 22 runs.

But after being sent to bat first, Afghanistan openers Gurbaz and Ibrahim treated the Bangladeshi pacers in disdain to make a solid start.

As they looked dangerous, Shakib made the crucial breakthrough, claiming the wicket of Ibrahim with a slower delivery.

The skipper then stifled the batting with tight line and length and rewarded with the wicket of Rahmat Shah (18).

Miraz appeared in the stage to further trouble Afghanistan batters. He removed Afghan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi (18), caught at mid-on.

But the big blow came in the next over when Mustafizur Rahman had Gurbaz caught by Tanzid Hasan Tamim at deep square leg, leaving the Afghanistan at 112-4.

Afghanistan then lost the rest of the six wickets for only 44 runs with Shakib and Miraz slicing the middle order in a gem of spin bowling.

The pacers then cleaned up the tail to give Bangladesh batters an easy target to chase.

Bangladesh face off England at the same venue on October 10.

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