Bangladesh left-arm spinner Saleh Ahmed Shawon Gazi returned stunning figures of six for ten to guide his side to a four-wicket win over Afghanistan in the U-19 Tri-series contest.
Electing to bat, Afghanistan got off to a steady start with opener Hazratullah (32) and skipper Ihsanullah (14) but introduction of spin in the sixth over triggered the collapse as none of the other batsman could reach double digit and they were skittled out for 85.
Bangladesh overcame some early hiccup to cruise to the paltry target in 34.4 overs and secure a bonus point. They are second behind India (9 points) with five points from two matches, while Afghanistan are yet to open their account.
Earlier, Bangladesh skipper Mehedi Hasan (2/19) took two wickets in two overs with his slow off-spin before the ‘Muttiah Muralitharan fan’ Gazi ran down the Afghan line-up with figures of 7.4-2-10-6, his career best.
The Barisal youngster bowled Ihsanullah with a sharp turner as the Afghan skipper had no clue.
“That was the best of the six. I can get turn from even out and out flat wickets,” Gazi, who idolises the Sri Lankan spin wizard Muralitharan, said.
Asked whether he’s influenced by their great left-arm spinner Shakib al Hasan, he said: “Of course, I’m a big fan of his but I’ve not got a chance to interact with him yet.”
Gazi further clarified that he is not related to Bangladesh off-spinner Sohag Gazi who incidentally is his neighbour in Barisal.
Afghan batsmen were literally clueless to Gazi’s sharp incoming deliveries.
“Previously I had a five-wicket haul against South Africa, but never six wickets. It’s a greet feeling and also a relief to back on winning track,” Gazi, who plays for Patuakhali District, said.
Commuting from Barisal to Dhaka is an arduous journey as one has to go via passenger ship and sometime it takes about 24 hours, Gazi said.
“The focus is now on the World Cup in our country maybe after that I will shift to the capital.”
Afghanistan U-19: 85 all out (Hazratullah 32; Saleh Ahmed Shawon 6/10, Mehedi Hasan 2/19) lost to Bangladesh U-19 89/6; 34.4 overs (Saif Hassan 32; Zia-ur-Rehman 2/20, Karim Janat 2/23)