In a high-stakes match to keep their Asia Cup 2023 campaign alive, Bangladesh delivered a resounding 89-run victory over Afghanistan in Lahore on Sunday. This win was significant not only for its margin but also for the emergence of Bangladesh’s young talents who seized the spotlight.
Winning the toss and opting to bat on a favorable pitch, Bangladesh witnessed a spectacular 194-run partnership for the third wicket between Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto. Mehidy, who was promoted to open the innings, exhibited remarkable composure, crafting a well-deserved century. Meanwhile, Najmul aggressively contributed to the scoring. This duo laid a strong foundation for Bangladesh to post a formidable total.
Despite a shaky start with the new ball, Afghanistan’s bowlers struggled to make a dent in Bangladesh’s batting lineup. Even Rashid Khan, the key spinner, had an off-day, going wicketless and conceding runs at an unusual rate.
Mehidy’s century and Najmul’s contributions paved the way for the experienced pair of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan to accelerate in the latter stages of the innings. With no scoreboard pressure, they unleashed their skills, propelling Bangladesh’s total past the 330-run mark.
Facing a daunting chase, Afghanistan needed a solid start, but Shoriful Islam’s early dismissal of Rahmanullah Gurbaz shattered their hopes. Although Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah stitched together a partnership, the required run rate remained out of reach. Taskin Ahmed, who bowled impressively, and Shoriful continued to claim wickets. Hashmatullah Shahidi’s fifty offered some resistance, but Afghanistan was always playing catch-up.
In the end, Afghanistan fell significantly short of the target, and Bangladesh secured an 89-run victory, which effectively confirmed their progression to the Super 4 stage. However, Afghanistan faces a challenging task to avoid elimination, as they must secure a convincing victory over Sri Lanka to improve their net run rate.
This match showcased Bangladesh’s emerging talents and their ability to perform under pressure. As they advance in the tournament, these youngsters will undoubtedly be crucial for Bangladesh’s chances of clinching the Asia Cup.
Brief Scores of BAN vs AFG: Bangladesh 334/5 in 50 overs (Mehidy Hasan Miraz 112, Najmul Hossain Shanto 104, Shakib Al Hasan 32*) beat Afghanistan 245 in 44.3 overs (Ibrahim Zadran 75, Hashmatullah Shahidi 51; Taskin Ahmed 4-44, Shoriful Islam 3-36) by 89 runs.