Championed by controlled aggression by Shakib Al Hasan (70* in 45 balls) and much improved bowling and fielding finally led Bangladesh got over the Afghanistan jinx. Team tigers won its first T20 international against Afghanistan in its 6th meet by 4 wickets in a low scoring match scoring 139/6 with a over to spare. Afghanistan losing the winning momentum in its previous match on the previous day experienced another top and middle order batting collapse. They could reach only 138/7 in the allotted overs. On the other end, back to the wall, Bangladesh executed a game plan with clinical perfection bowling and fielding with purpose. Afghanistan appeared a bit panicked, from a strong position of 75/0 in 9.3 overs they depleted to a modest score of 138/7. True the wicket was double paced yet there was no reason why one after another Afghan batsmen had to commit suicide. This is what happens when a team loose winning momentum mid way through a tournament. Bangladesh deservedly won the dress rehearsal of the final comfortably by four wickets. After some early order shake senior professionals Shakib and Musfique set a strong foundation counter attacking. Mushfique for his youthful exuberance lost his wicket (26). But Shakib with unbeaten 70 led his charge till the much coveted win was achieved by the end of the penultimate over of the match. Bangladesh will now appear much more confident in the final winning two games in a trot against Afghanistan losing two matches back to back. Afghans no longer remains unconquered by Bangladeshis. Bangladesh took a leaf of Zimbabwe on the previous match and had feast with Sumptuous Afghan Kebab.
OBHAI Tri Nation T20 Series 6th Match Played at ZAC Stadium Chattogram
Bangladesh 139/6 in 19 overs ( Shakib Al Hasan 70* , Mushfiqur Rahim 26, Mosaddeq Hossain 19* , Naveed UlHaq 2/20,Rashid Khan 2/27, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 1/19) beat Afghanistan 138/7 ( Hashmatullah Zazai 47, Rahmatullah Gurbaz 29, Shafiqullah 23* , Affif Hossain 2/9 ) by 4 wickets
Player of the Match: Shakib Al Hasan
Winning the toss and letting Afghanistan bat Bangladesh looked a bit nervous in the first 10 overs in containing the all guns blazing Afghan openers. They raced to 75 without losing a wicket. Two youngster Rahmatullah Gurbaz and Hasmatuallh Zazai were in murderous mood. Bangladesh required a spark. Shakib introduced young Affif for the first time in the series. The talented youngster provided the spark with a double blow in his first over removing Zazai ( 47) and Asghar Afghan(0). When in the very new over Mustafiz got rid of Gurbaz (29) Afghans got terribly shaken being reduced to 3/80 from 0/75. Affif bowled three miserly overs giving away only 9 runs. Suddenly Bangladeshi players had spring in their feet. Bowling and fielding dramatically changed. Mohammad Nabi was picked by Shakib before he could settle. Gulbadin Naib ran himself out and Nazibullah Zadran was cleaned up by a beauty from Saifuddin. At 6/109 by the 16th over Afghanistan lost its way. Bangladesh however failed to wrap up the tail. Afghan tail also could not wag. 138/7 was not enough to test Bangladesh batting. Perhaps Shakib made a strategic mistake not letting Affif finish his quota when iron of his bowling was hot .His spell of 3-1 -9-2 was the game changer.
Bangladesh response was also disastrous. The opening partnership again appears in lot of bother. Shanto is not a good choice for T20 and Liton looks nervous dealing with Afghanistan bowling. Young Shiekh Naeem drafted in the team as a proper opener could be tried yesterday. With 2/12 by the 4th over Bangladesh dug a hole for themselves when Mushfique walked in to join his mate Shakib for resurrecting the innings. Shakib was looking in his element after the one off test and three previous matches of this series. He looked hungry for runs. Mushfique started carefully but soon joined Shakib in the hunt. The partnership was flowering quick 58. Mushfique as he often does failed to resist his adrenaline. After striking a brilliant over boundary early over of Karim Jannat he tried to repeat. He was unnecessarily out scoring 26 in 25 deliveries. His wicket triggered a mini collapse as Mahmudullah, Sabbir and Affif left in no time. Fortunately Shakib kept his cool and played some classical trade mark strokes. Mosaddeq joining him at 8 gave him good company as Bangladesh survived last stage scare of Rashid Khan. Bangladesh won its first T20 international against Afghanistan quite convincingly by 4 wickets. Shakib played yet another superlative innings of unbeaten 70 in 45 deliveries. Mosaddeq remained with him scoring 19 in 12.
The two back to back wins hopefully put Bangladesh in better form of mind. This was not unexpected of them. But what is unexpected is the sudden slump in Afghans mental make up. For two matches in succession they looked out of shorts. Batting lost planning, bowling lost the penetration and the bite. Did Bangladesh monsoon moisten their spirit? Hope the high voltage final on 24th at SBNCS Dhaka would be far more competitive.
Young Affif delivered the spark, the wake up call. Bangladesh was up and running. Shakib shouldered the team leading by example. In the previous match Mahmudullah championed Bangladesh win and in this match Shakib. Bangladesh desperately needs playing to its reputation. They have to iron out a few issues. Nazmul Shanto is not a T20 element. Sabbir looks panicked. Bangladesh still looks panicked when Rashid comes in to bowl. They must execute their plan against the champion bowler. Even yesterday Bangladesh almost made a heavy weather chasing a modest target.
BDST: 0840 HRS, SEP 22, 2019