Asia Cup | Twitter reacts as Mehidy-Shanto masterclass helps Bangladesh thump Afghanistan by 89 runs
Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz starred with a match-winning 194-run third wicket partnership|
ESPN Cricinfo/ AFP
Bangladesh proved to be a class apart from Afghanistan in Lahore on Monday as tons from Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto saw them post a total of 334/5 before bowling out their rivals for 245. The victory means Afghanistan need to trump Sri Lanka to stay alive in the tournament.
After choosing to bat first on a track seemingly tailor-made for batting, Bangladesh got off to a flyer in the powerplay to rack up 60 runs in the first 10 overs. However, they lost opener Mohammad Naim and succeeding batter Towhid Hridoy in quick succession on either side of the mark which allowed Afghanistan a chance to make a comeback. Makeshift opener Mehidy Hasan Miraz, playing at the top of the order for just the second time in ODIs, carefully constructed his innings while the in-form Najmul Hossain Shanto at the other end kept the scoreboard ticking at nearly run-a-ball. The duo exercised caution against ace spinner Rashid Khan while punishing the rest whenever an opportunity arose, eventually putting together a mammoth 194-run partnership -- the sixth biggest for the Tigers in ODI history. By the time Miraz departed to the pavilion retired hurt for 112 off 119 deliveries after suffering a bout of cramps, his side had the platform set for a grand finish as the score read 251/2 with 47 balls remaining in the innings. Shanto thereon stepped on the accelerator to get to his second ODI century, making it only the second time two batters had scored a century for Bangladesh in an ODI game, while Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan capped off proceedings with rapid cameos of 25 and 32 at strike rates of 166.66 and 177.77 respectively.
Chasing a daunting 335, the Afghans endured a terrible start as star opener Rahmanullah Gurbaaz was sent packing in the second over itself. Thereon, their batters kept the team in the hunt throughout, stitching together three successive half-century stands but the Bangladesh bowlers found a way to break through every time things began to slip out of control. Ibrahim Zadran was the standout batter at the top of the order with a splendid 75 scored at just over run-a-ball while skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi impressed in the middle-order with a 61-ball 50. By the time the latter was dismissed, the requirement was already a steep 139 runs from 76 balls at nearly 11 a over. The Tigers kept it tight and finished off the job without a fuss as right-arm quick Taskin Ahmed eventually emerged with exceptional figures of 4/44.
Very well played