DHARAMSALA: Bangladesh kicked off their ICC World Cup 2023 campaign with a thumping six-wicket victory over Afghanistan, courtesy of an all-round performance by Mehidy Hasan Miraz here on Saturday.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz returned with figures of 3-25 in the first innings to help his side bundle Afghanistan for a meagre 156. He then scored a gusty 57 off 73 during Bangladesh’s pursuit of the target.
Set to chase 157, Bangladesh started the innings with two early wickets inside seven overs at a total of 27.
Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto then knitted an anchoring 97-run partnership off 129 to put Bangladesh in a comfortable position until Afghanistan struck to send Miraz back and cause a stir in the run chase.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan joined Shanto on the crease but was soon back to the pavilion after adding 14 runs to the total.
Najmul Hossain Shanto stayed at the crease and steered his team to the win, with back-to-back boundaries in the 35th over. He scored an unbeaten 59 runs off 83 balls, with the help of three boundaries and a six.
Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-ul-Haq and Azmatullah Omarzai managed one wicket each for Afghanistan.
Earlier in the first innings, Afghanistan had a decent start with opening batters putting up 47 runs on board within nine overs after being put into bat by Bangladesh’s skipper.
They lost their first wicket when Ibrahim Zadran (22) attempted to sweep Shakib Al Hasan but a top edge flew to Tanzid Hasan.
Rahmat Shah and skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi scored 18 each to support a settled Rahmanullah Gurbaz on the other end and drag the total to 112-2 before Bangladeshi bowlers wreaked havoc with two wickets in five balls.
Shahidi fell while trying to slog but the ball ballooned up and landed in the hands of Towhid Hridoy, while Gurbaz mishit a slower ball from Mustafizur Rahman, which was caught by Tanzid Hasan in the deep.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz scored 47 runs off 62 balls, with the help of four boundaries and one six.
Afghanistan team could not recover from it as their wickets kept tumbling at an alarming rate and bundled out at a meagre 156 in 37.2 overs.
They only managed to add 44 runs for the last six wickets, including a brief 24 runs partnership for the seventh wicket between Rashid Khan (9) and Azmatullah Omarzai (22). The latter was the only batter to reach double figures among the last seven batters.
Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz picked three wickets each, while Shoriful Islam grabbed two.
More to follow…