Hosts Bangladesh overcame a slightly shaky start to post 265 against Afghanistan in the first ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today after electing to bat first.
Tamim Iqbal top-scored with 80, while Mahmudullah Riyad and Shakib Al Hasan contributed with scores of 62 and 48 respectively before the hosts were bundled out in 50 overs.
That the Tigers were playing their first ODI after a gap of 10 months was evident during their rusty start and quiet finish. After scoring 196 for three in 40 overs, they were bundled out for 265.
While Tamim Iqbal stood firm in the first 20 overs, his partners Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes did not look too comfortable.
Afghanistan began well by taking the wicket of Soumya Sarkar in the fifth ball of the first over. Soumya tried to pull Dawlat Zadran for a boundary, but only managed to scoop an edge to mid-wicket. This was the left-hander’s first duck in ODIs.
Imrul joined Tamim and started to build a partnership. It was a good wicket to bat on and both batsmen were focusing on rotating the strike aside from hitting the odd boundary.
Imrul, looking to find a permanent place in the eleven, survived a few close shaves during his 53-ball 37 and did not look too comfortable. In over number 6.4 he looked to drive a good length delivery over cover but instead almost got caught at first slip.
An over later, he tried to hit Mohammad Nabi through cover again but only managed to edge it in the air. Lucky for him, the ball fell right in front of short cover. The delivery from Nabi had stopped a bit and Imrul had failed to recognise that.
While Tamim did look good, he too survived a close opportunity when one of his drives off Mirwais Ashraf went through the point fielder's hand when the left-hander was on 30.
Eventually, Imrul was bowled by Nabi in the 18th over soon after the drinks break. He looked to drive a full-length delivery but ended up missing it completely. The ball hit his pads and then rolled to the stumps.
Four overs later, Tamim Iqbal reached his half-century with a beautifully timed cut through short third man. It took him 63 balls and it was his 33rd half-century.
The innings gained momentum after Mahmudullah Riyad replaced Imrul. Riyad made a slow start initially, scoring just five off his first 14 balls. However, once Tamim was dismissed in the 36th over for 80, Riyad unleashed his range of strokes.
Tamim tried to pull Mirwais straight down the ground for a six but got caught at long-off instead. He ended his 98-ball knock with nine fours. He seemed to be getting a bit tired
Riyad took over the mantle from there. He began by coming down the track to Mirwais Ashraf in the 25th over and clean-hitting him straight down the ground. That was the first six of the day.
He then smacked Dawlat Zadran in the 38th over for 16 runs to reach his half-century. That over was clearly the highlight of his innings. He began by pulling Zadran for a four right between long off and mid-wicket and reached his half-century. In the very next ball, he went down the track and smacked him for a six down the ground.
At the end of the 38th over Bangladesh were poised at 186 for three and with a target of 300 in mind, Mahmudullah looked to step up the gear. As a result of which, he faulted and gave the simplest of chances to the fielder at short cover. Unfortunately for the bowler, Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai dropped the easiest of catches. All he needed to do was bend a little more and hang on to the loopy catch.
Fortunately for the visitors, Riyad didn’t make them pay. He was dismissed by Nabi in the 41st over for 62 when he was caught at the fine-leg boundary while attempting to sweep the spinner for a six. He finished with two sixes and five fours during the 74-ball knock.
At the end of the 41st over Bangladesh were poised at 201 for 4 and with two relatively new batsmen, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, at the crease.
The plan was to score as much as possible in the death overs and it turned out to be a little difficult with the set players back in the pavilion.
Mushfiqur was bowled by leg-spinner Rashid Khan for 15 attempting his favoured slog-sweep. Two overs later, Khan trapped Sabbir Rahman in front with a googly for two.
The leg-spinner was easily the best bowler of the innings and finished his 10 overs for two for 37. Shakib scored a 40-ball 48, with three fours and tried to up the rate, but he too perished in the 48th over.
Eventually the hosts were bundled out for 265. Bangladesh managed to post just 69 runs in the last 10 overs and lost seven wickets. The quiet end was because of some good bowling from the Afghans towards the end. They never panicked and stuck to their plan of bowling bouncers and slower deliveries which the Bangladeshi batsmen found difficult to read.