Afghanistan managed to post a competitive 255 runs in the first innings of their dead-rubber encounter with Bangladesh thanks to a late onslaught from Rashid Khan and Gulbadin Naib.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Afghanistan found themselves in a little trouble as they lost the wickets of Ihsanullah and Rahmat Shah early in the first powerplay. It was the 50-run partnership between opener Mohammad Shahzad (37 off 47 balls, four fours) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (52 off 92 balls, three fours) that laid the foundation and added some stability, if not impetus, to the innings.
As Afghanistan began to rebuild, the ever-reliable Shakib Al Hasan was on hand for Bangladesh as he broke the partnership and proceeded to rip through the Afghan middle order, finishing with figures of 4-42 in his 10 overs. Bangladeshi debutant Abu Hider also enjoyed his evening out with the ball, picking up 2-50 in nine overs. The Afghans were left reeling at 160-7 in the 41st over as it looked more than likely that they would be bowled out before the 50-over mark.
Khan and Naib (42 off 38 balls, five fours) had other ideas, though, as their destructive 95-run partnership at the tail end of the innings helped Afghanistan post an impressive 255 at the innings break. Khan exploded with the bat as his quickfire 57 off 38 balls – including eight fours and one six – got him and his team to a total they would back themselves to defend.
Bangladesh will hope for a strong start to their innings if they hope to chase the target down as the Afghan spinners will be a handful. After losing Tamim Iqbal through injury, the rest of the batting order will be under more scrutiny as they look to get over the line.
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