Afghans trump sorry Tigers
It might be a bit of an exaggeration to say that Mushfiqur Rahim could have taken a cup of tea before dismantling the stumps, but there is no argument over the fact that he had all the time, yet fluffed a simple stumping and deprived Mosaddek Hossain from an auspicious ODI debut.
Mushfiqur's keeping has long been a concern for the team and many might not pardon him for last night's mistake, but the blame should not only be his; the greater blame should fall on Bangladesh's batting, the real culprit behind their two-wicket defeat to Afghanistan in the second ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. Afghanistan bounced back with their second ODI success against the Tigers to make Saturday's third and final ODI a decider and denied the home team their 100th ODI win.
Mushfiqur's blunder was a big moment in the game as Afghanistan had lost seven wickets by that time in their chase of 208 and Najibullah Zadran seemed to be the last hurdle for the home side. Off the fifth ball of the 47th over, Mosaddek bowled a flighted delivery and Najibullah stepped out for a leg-side slog but he was nowhere near the pitch of the ball. However, Mushfiqur missed the chance as the ball bobbled out of his gloves.
Najibullah eventually fell prey to Taskin Ahmed after having scored 22 valuable runs, but by then the match was tied, with three balls still remaining. Dawlat Zadran played the next ball over backward point for a boundary to seal the thrilling win for his country.
Earlier, a double-strike from Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over derailed the Afghans' chase but Asghar Stanikzai and Mohammad Nabi got them back on track with a 107-run fifth-wicket stand before both set batsman exited in successive overs.
When Taskin -- the hero of the first match -- started the last over, the home team needed a miracle as Afghanistan required only two runs from six balls with three wickets in hand, but the stocky paceman brought some excitement with two dot deliveries before a hot-headed bouncer, which was given as a wide, gave the opponents one run. That bouncer also reflected the off-kilter mindset of most of his teammates.
Bangladesh had promised a much better show in the second match but in reality their performance was more frustrating than that in the first match, where they snatched a win from the jaws of defeat. Bangladesh made one change to the winning combination of the first match, bringing Mosaddek in place of Imrul Kayes. And the young man provided ample evidence of why he has been considered one of the most promising third-generation prospects.
The 20-year-old, combined with the excellent Shakib Al Hasan -- who took four wickets for 47 runs and became the first to take 100 ODI wickets in Mirpur -- gave some hope but in the end the lack of runs on the board after being sent into bat first proved decisive.
One must give credit to the Afghanistan bowling, but Bangladesh's established batsmen seemed to have had no clue against spin. The Tigers were comfortably placed at 111 for two in the 25th over, with Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah Riyad set at the crease, but they lost their last seven wickets for 86 runs and slipped to 165 for 9 in the 43rd over before Mosaddek launched the late blows.
The right-hander's unbeaten run-a-ball 45 included a scoop over long-leg and a pull over midwicket and he found support from last batsman Rubel Hossain in a 10th-wicket partnership of 43 runs to take the score to 208.
Mosaddek also took two important wickets for 30 runs but in the end he did not have the luck to make it a memorable debut.