Afghanistan lose despite rally

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Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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World Cup debutants Afghanistan avoided humiliation at the hands of Bangladesh but still fell to a comprehensive 105-run defeat in the Pool A match at Canberra.

Afghanistan slumped to three for three in the third over in chase of Bangladesh’s total of 267 after Javed Ahmadi, Afsar Zazai and Asghar Stanikzai were all dismissed for just a run each.

The new boys rallied to 25 for three at the end of the 12th over as Samiullah Shenwari took a leading role alongside number three Nawroz Mangal.

The duo stayed together to see Afghanistan past the lowest ever score in World Cup history – the 36 scored by Canada against Sri Lanka in 2003 – and moved onto to 63 without further loss, steadying the innings and leaving a target of a further 205 runs from 25 overs.

However, with regular wickets tumbling, it was a bridge too far for Afghanistan, who finished on 162 from 42.5 overs.

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first, making a solid total from their 50 overs, with wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim top-scoring with 71 from 56 balls, which included six boundaries and a maximum.

Shakib Al Hasan weighed in with 63 in a stand with Rahim which took Bangladesh from 119 for four to 233 for five and recovered their innings which had been in danger of faltering after the top four failed to push on.

Tamim Iqbal (19), Anamul Haque (29), Soumya Sarkar (28) and Mahmudullah (23) all fell by the 30th over as Bangladesh lacked momentum in the early part of their innings.

Shapoor Zadran accounted for the latter duo to return figures of two for 20 off seven overs for Afgahnistan, who shared the wickets among their seven-strong bowling attack.

In reply, Afghanistan’s batsmen appeared to be suffering from stage fright, with the top three all dismissed for a single run apiece inside the first three overs.

After a spell of consolidation, Mangal (27) departed in the 23rd over to break the stand with Shenwari, who was run out for 42 by Sabbir Rahman shortly after, as the debutants were plunged back into problems on 78 for five.

They passed the 100 mark without further loss with Mohammad Nabi (44) and Najibullah Zadran (17) at the crease but when both were dismissed when the score was on 136 to leave Afghanistan seven down, the writing was on the wall.

Mirwais Ashraf did not last long, sticking round for only 15 balls for his 10 runs, which included a six that beat Iqbal at deep midwicket.

Hamid Hassan holed out for a five-ball duck in the 42nd over to leave his side 154 for nine down and still needing 114 runs for victory.

Last man Zadran remained not out on two, with the run out of Aftab Alam (14) sealing victory for Bangladesh, with Mashrafe Mortaza (three for 20) the pick of the bowlers.

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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