Afghanistan notched up their first major win against a Test playing nation as they produced an all-round performance to script an upset 32-run victory over Bangladesh in their Asia Cup match, here today.
Chasing 255 for victory, Bangladesh could not recover from a top-order collapse and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals to be bundled out for 222 in 47.5 overs at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium to slump to their second consecutive loss in the five-nation regional tournament.
Barring Mominul Haque (50), Nasir Hossain (41) and Ziaur Rahman (41), none of their batsmen showed enough patience to stay at the crease and grind it out.
Rahman tried to change the course of the game with a few lusty blows towards the end but his efforts could not stop Afghanistan from creating a cricketing history.
Afghanistan’s inexperience at the international level was on full display when their butterfingered fielders dropped as many as four catches and gave away few easy runs.
But the gutsy team from the strife-torn nation held its nerve to pull off a dramatic victory over Bangladesh, kicking off jubilant celebrations in their camp.
This was after rearguard half-centuries from Asghar Stanikzai (90 not out) and Samiullah Shenwari (81) took the visitors to 254 for 6 after being put in to bat.
Afghanistan were once in trouble at 90/5, but Stanikzai and Shenwari got together and added 164 from 138 balls for the sixth-wicket partnership to take Afghanistan past 250.
Bangladesh conceded 107 runs from last 10 overs as the duo of Stanikzai and Shenwari first stressed on building the innings and then unleashed an array of powerful strokes at the death to post a competitive total.
Bangladesh started their run chase on a disastrous note, losing openers Shamsur Rahman (0) and Anamul Haque (1) with
just one run on the board.
Mominul and Mushfiqur Rahim (23) tried to resurrect the innings with a 68-run stand for the third wicket but both were dismissed in quick succession to leave Bangladesh reeling at 88 for 4 halfway through their innings.
Momimul was castled by Samiullah Shenwari just after the batsman completed his half-century, laced with six fours.
Hossain cashed in on two dropped chances to score a patient 60-ball 41 and also raised a 73-run stand for the fifth wicket with Naeem Islam (35) to provide stabilitity to the floundering innings.
Hossain was first dropped by Asghar Stanikzai off Hamza Hotak at backward point when he was batting on 1 and couple of overs later by Samiullah Shenwari off his own bowling.
The partnership was broken by Mirwais Ashraf when he had Hossain caught by Shenwari at backward point in the 39th over to trigger another familiar Bangladesh collapse.
Bangladesh lost Islam, Abdur Razzak (0) and Arafat Sunny (0) within a span of three deliveries to slump to 165 for 8.
After that, it was just a matter of time before they succumbed to their worst defeat in the limited overs format.
For Afghanistan, Mohammad Nabi was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 44, while Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan accounted for two wickets apiece.
Earlier, Afghanistan made a dramatic recovery from a top-order collapse with a late blitzkrieg from Stanikzai and Shenwari to post a fighting total.
The duo, who started cautiously, finished with a flourish as they punished Bangladesh bowlers in the final overs.
Stanikzai was slow to get going initially as he took 81 balls to reach his fourth ODI fifty.
But after reaching the milestone the 26-year-old cut loose as he carted the hosts’ bowlers all around the park.
Stanikzai’s knock came off 103 balls and included six fours and three sixes.
Shenwari, on the other hand, maintained a brisk scoring rate throughout. His 69-ball innings included 10 fours and a six.
The Bangladeshi bowlers did not get support from their fielders who dropped two catches in the innings.
Afghanistan openers Mohammad Shahzad (2) and Karim Sadiq (12) departed cheaply. Shahzad was foxed by a slower one from
pacer Rubel Hossain and was trapped in front of the wicket, while left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny claimed the scalp of Sadiq
who handed a simple return catch to him.
Najibullah Zadran (21) was dismissed soon after as Afghanistan were reduced to 43 for three.
Next batsman Nawroz Mangal, however, showed some purpose as he hit three fours in his 33-ball 22 before being out in the 23rd over.
Afghanistan lost another wicket soon after with skipper Nabi dismissed for just seven as the visitors were further reduced to 90 for five before Stanikzai and Shenwari took them to a respectable total.