SPORT

Rashid Khan makes the difference in the opener

Game changer:Rashid Khan exults with teammates after dismissing the well-set Mushfiqur Rahim off the first ball he bowled on Sunday.Sandeep Saxena  

Rashid Khan has travelled nearly half the world over the last week having flown from Mumbai, the venue for the Indian Premier League final, to London for the charity T20 match before touching down in Dehradun for Afghanistan’s T20 series against Bangladesh. The young leggie, however, showed no signs of fatigue as his effective spell turned out to be the defining factor in his team’s 45-run win.

Rashid’s three for 13 was the difference between the two sides as Afghanistan completed its first T20 victory against an Asian opponent in the maiden international game at the Rajeev Gandhi International Stadium here.

On a pitch which played expectedly slow, Afghanistan did exceedingly well to put on 167 for eight, thanks to vital contributions from a majority of its batsmen.

When Rashid came in to bowl to a loud roar from the stands at the halfway stage of the chase, Bangladesh was 80 for three. With a set Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease and Afghanistan having plundered 71 runs off its last five overs earlier, the game was in the balance.

But Rashid virtually sealed the fate with his first two balls. Mushfiqur attempted an audacious reverse sweep off the first ball, missed and walked back once the ball thudded into his pad.

The next ball, Sabbir Rahman was stranded on his backfoot to be also adjudged leg-before. Though Mosaddek Hossain averted the hat-trick, neither he nor Mahmudullah could get Bangladesh back on track.

Rashid ended Mosaddek’s misery in the 15th over with a googly that the batsman heaved straight to Usman Ghani at long-on. Left-arm pacer Shapoor Zadran then cleaned up the tail.

Earlier, cameos by Mohammad Shahzad, captain Asghar Stanikzai, Shamiullah Shenwari and Shafiqullah helped Afghanistan raise a commendable total.

Shahzad and Ghani laid a solid foundation with a 62-run opening stand before Stanikzai took on a largely inexperienced pace attack.

Of the 11 fours and nine sixes that were hit by Afghanistan, the two stand-out strokes were a whip by Shahzad off Abul Hasan in the opening over and an inside-out lofted drive by Shenwari off Abu Jayed in the 18th over.

The latter set the tone for the last three overs that fetched Afghanistan 52 runs.

The scores:

Afghanistan 167 for eight in 20 overs (Mohammad Shahzad 40, Samiullah Shenwari 36, Usman Ghani 26, Asghar Stanikzai 25, Mahmadullah two for one, Abul Hasan two for 40) bt Bangladesh 122 in 19 overs (Liton Das 30, Mahmudullah 29, Rashid Khan three for 13, Shapoor Zadran three for 40, Mohammad Nabi two for 21).