Talented spinner Rashid Khan celebrated his 20th birthday by scoring a half century and taking two wickets as Afghanistan upset Bangladesh by 136 runs in the Asia Cup on Thursday.
Rashid scored a rapid unbeaten 32-ball 57 with eight fours and a six to lift Afghanistan to an imposing 255/7 after their captain Asghar Afghan won the toss and decided to bat at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Rashid, who finished with 2/13 in nine overs and effected a run out, claimed the prized wickets of Shakib Al Hasan (32) and Mahmudullah Riyad (27) as Bangladesh were bundled out for 119 in 42.1 overs.
It was Afghanistan’s second upset in the tournament following their 91-run win over Sri Lanka which sent the islanders crashing out in the first round. Afghanistan next take on Pakistan in the double-header Super Four game in Abu Dhabi on Friday while title holders India meet Bangladesh in Dubai.
Afghanistan rocked the Bangladesh top four for just 43 runs before Shakib and Riyad added 36 but they were not spared by Rashid, who became the fastest bowler to 100 one-day wickets in 44 games earlier this year.
This was Bangladesh’s lowest total against Afghanistan by some distance – their previous lowest against the Afghans was 208 in Dhaka two years ago. The whole Bangladesh innings had just five boundaries – two by Riyad and three by Mosaddek Hossain (26*).
“It was a very important game for us and I’ll give a lot of credit to (Gulbadin) Naib and Rashid for their effort. Our top and middle order didn’t play very well but thanks to God, Naib and Rashid did very well,” said Afghan.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza believed the game changed in the 40th over. “Afghanistan outplayed us from the 40th over,” said Mashrafe. “They played really well and we didn’t bowl well in the last 10 overs and batting wasn’t up to the mark. We have a big match tomorrow and boys need to be fresh. It’s a bit difficult to recover from back-to-back matches in this heat.”
Earlier, Hashmatullah Shahidi hit a painstaking 58 to revive Afghanistan after they were jolted by left-arm spinner Shakib who finished with 4/42 in his ten overs. Rashid used the long handle to the best effect, taking Afghanistan past the 250-mark, adding 90 for an unbroken eighth wicket stand with Gulbadin Naib who made 42 off 38 balls with five boundaries.