Afghanistan began their historic tour of the sub-continent with a crushing 45-run win over Bangladesh in the first of three T20s.
The international rookies racked up 167-8, thanks in particular to Samiullah Shenwari, who scored 36 off 18 balls (three fours, three sies) and Shafiqullah’s 24 off eight (one four, three sixes) which helped Afghanistan take 62 runs off the last four overs and revive a flagging innings.
And then the irrepressible Rashid Khan, fresh from a magnificent debut in the IPL, ripped through the Bangladeshi line-up, taking 3-13 off three overs, helping to bowl them out for 122 in 19 overs.
He was well backed by Mohammad Nabi (2-21 off four) and Shapoor Zadran, who took 3-40.
Mohammad Shahzad (40 off 37) and Usman Ghani (26 off 24) got Afghanistan off to a sound start, putting on 62 runs for the first wicket, but they struggled to kick on after the powerplay.
Shahzad was dropped by Shakib Al Hasan, off his own bowling, at the start of 12th over, and ended it by reverse-sweeping him straight to point. He had made 40 off 37 balls, with five fours.
Mahmudullah’s double-strike in the 14th over, where he dismissed Najibullah Zadran andNabi, left Afghanistan with the tough task of rebuilding the innings with six overs remaining. But Bangladesh gave away the advantage in the last four overs.
Strangely, Mahmudullah was never recalled to the bowling crease, and ended with the figures 1-0-1-2.
It was a complete performance from Afghanistan, characterised by a clinical bowling performance that didn’t give Bangladesh any chance of chasing down the total.