Pacer defends eight runs off the final to help Bangladesh register three-run win
Mustafizur Rahman’s outstanding last over was enough to send Afghanistan out of the tournament as Bangladesh register three-run win in a virtual knock-out in Super-Four stage in the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The day started with Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza winning the toss and opting to bat first in good conditions.
His decision proved to be a disastrous one as the team lost five wickets for just 87 runs in the 21st over and looked set for another defeat against the opposition in the tournament. But a 128-run partnership for the sixth wicket between veteran all-rounder Mahmudullah and left-handed batsman Imrul Keyes helped the team recover and register a decent total of 249 runs on the board.
Mahmudullah finished the innings with the top score of 74 off 81 balls, including three fours and two sixes, whereas Keyes remained not out after scoring 72 off 89 balls with the help of six boundaries. For Afghanistan, pacer Aftab Alam, who broke down in tears in the previous match against Pakistan after failing to save 10 runs off the final over, finished the proceedings with most wickets (3), whereas leg-spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan claimed a wicket each.
In reply, Afghanistan lost two wickets for just 26 runs, but a 63-run partnership between wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi put the team back on the track. Once Shahzad departed after scoring hard-fought 53 off 81 balls with the help of eight fours, Shahidi joined captain Asghar Afghan and added 78 runs for the fourth-wicket to put the team on course for another famous win.
But the bowling side kept their cool and keep chipping away with wickets to stay in the game. In the final over, Afghanistan needed eight runs to win with four wickets in hand and looked favorite to clinch the tie. But Mustafizur kept his calm and delivered an outstanding over to register a famous three-run win. For Afghanistan, Shahidi finished the innings with the top score of 71 off 99 balls with the help of five fours.
For Bangladesh, captain Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman claimed two wickets each. Mahmudullah was named the man of the match for his all-round brilliance for Bangladesh in this game.