Stanikzai and Shenwari inspire the team to a memorable win against Bangladesh

Clutching at a tenuous thread between fairytale and nightmare, Afghanistan contrived to go down the abyss on multiple occasions before making its tryst with history on Saturday.

After a slew of fielding gaffes, Mohammad Nabi’s men finally slammed the door shut on Bangladesh to win by 32 runs in the Asia Cup encounter here. It was Afghanistan’s first victory — from four matches — against a Test-playing side.

Put into bat, the heroes of Afghanistan’s triumph were Asghar Stanikzai (90 n.o.) and man-of-the-match Samiullah Shenwari (81) who piled on 164 runs in 138 balls for the sixth wicket. After extricating Afghanistan from a dicey situation, the duo flogged the opponent for 107 runs in the last 10 overs.

Bangladesh, chasing 255, was off to a calamitous start after left-armer Shapoor Zadran slipped one through Shamsur Rahman’s defence in the first over. There was a wicket in the very next over as amidHassan caught Anamul Haque in front.

Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul Haque plodded along, but Nabi’s off-break claimed his opposite number. Then, Afghanistan put on a horrendous fielding show dropping Nasir Hossain four times, including two return chances floored by Shenwari.

First, Hossain and Naeem Islam were orchestrating a comeback, but the former was out in the 39th over. Then, three wickets fell in three balls as Bangladesh was eight down. Ziaur Rahman tried to drag the game away, but Afghanistan recovered in time.

Earlier, going by Afghanistan’s middling start, it was hard to foresee the score it eventually racked up. At 43 for three, Stanikzai was joined by Nawroz Mangal. With both batsmen relatively new at the crease, they tried to resuscitate things. But, in the 23rd over, Mangal, like in Afghanistan’s previous game, deliberated over a non-existent single, and as he tried to get back to the crease, was run-out.When skipper Nabi edged one to first slip later, his team had slumped to 90 for five. After grinding out a sedate PowerPlay, scoring 23 runs, Shenwari dealt in rollicking heaves and sweeps. Stanikzai, too, abandoned his go-safe mindset to hand out a lashing.

Scoreboard:

Afghanistan: Mohd. Shahzad lbw b Rubel 2 (8b), Karim Sadiq c & b Sunny 12 (36b, 1x6), Najibullah Zadran b Sunny 21 (36b, 2x4), Asghar Stanikzai (not out) 90 (103b, 6x4, 3x6), Nawroz Mangal run out 24 (33b, 3x4), Mohd. Nabi c Nasir b Mominul 7 (15b), Samiullah Shenwari run out 81 (69b, 10x4, 1x6), Mirwais Ashraf (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-1, lb-6, w-10): 17; Total (for six wkts. in 50 overs): 254.

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Shahzad), 2-40 (Sadiq), 3-43 (Najibullah), 4-74 (Mangal), 5-90 (Nabi), 6-254 (Shenwari).

Bangladesh bowling: Rubel 10-0-61-1, Razzak 10-1-57-0, Sunny 10-0-44-2, Gazi 0.3-0-0-0, Nasir Hossain 2.3-0-8-0, Mominul 10-0-38-1, Ziaur 7-0-39-0.

Bangladesh: Anamul Haque lbw b Hassan 1 (9b), Shamsur Rahman b Shapoor 0 (2b), Mominul Haque b Shenwari 50 (72b, 6x4), Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Nabi 23 (42b, 1x4), Nasir Hossain c Shenwari b Ashraf 41 (60b, 1x4, 1x6), Naeem Islam c Mangal b Hassan 35 (51b, 2x4), Ziaur Rahman b Nabi 41 (22b, 4x4, 3x6), Abdur Razzak run out 0 (1b), Arafat Sunny c Shahzad b Shapoor 0 (1b), Rubel Hossain c Mangal b Nabi 17 (19b, 2x4), Sohag Gazi (not out) 2 (8b); Extras (b-4, lb-2, w-6): 12; Total (in 47.5 overs): 222.

Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Shamsur), 2-1 (Anamul), 3-69 (Mushfiqur), 4-88 (Mominul), 5-161 (Nasir Hossain), 6-165 (Naeem), 7-165 (Razzak), 8-165 (Arafat), 9-205 (Ziaur).

Afghanistan bowling: Shapoor Zadran 8-0-39-2, Hamid Hassan 6.1-1-26-2, Karim Sadiq 2-0-9-0, Mirwais Ashraf 9-0-51-1, Mohammad Nabi 9.4-0-44-3, Hamza Hotak 7-0-24-0, Samiuallah Shenwari 6-0-23-1.

Man-of-the-match: Shenwari.

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