Afghanistan's cricket fans were not too happy after the visitors gave away the first ODI, despite having dominated the game for long periods. According to Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, the fans were 'talking too much' after the first ODI and they needed a result to be relieved.
Yesterday, the Afghans were in a similar position. They dominated the second ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium for almost 80 overs and yet, they somehow found themselves in a hole towards the end.
Luckily for them, and the thousands of fans in Kabul who have been watching the games on screens in public areas setup just for this series, the visitors did not commit the same mistake twice.
“The first game… we lost and the people talked too much. They were saying: why did you lose? You were supposed to win that game!,” a smiling Nabi told reporters after the match at Mirpur yesterday.
“The win against a full member has a big meaning for associate teams, especially in Afghanistan where cricket is improving day by day. The win will make the people more energetic,” he added.
The highlight of yesterday's performance was the century stand between skipper Asghar Stanikzai and Nabi for the fifth wicket. After the Afghans were reduced to 63 for 4, many thought that the visitors had lost the game right there.
However, the two most experienced men in the side decided to drop a gear and calmly build a partnership. In between over number 16 and 26 they scored 39 cautious runs. They only went for boundaries when Rubel Hossain went off line.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza tried everything. He used almost all the spinners available to him, but the duo stood rock solid. In between overs number 26 and 36, the duo put on just 41 more runs. They were slow, but the required run-rate was well within their reach.
The plan was to stay on till the end.
“The pitch conditions were not suitable for batting because the ball was turning and skidding. The plan was to play till over number 40 or 45. We just concentrated on the singles and doubles.
“We know that for a few overs in the middle we didn't hit any boundary, but that's how you built a partnership,” said Nabi.
While Nabi admitted that the immense experience which the duo share -- they have played 128 ODIs between them -- helped them in their task, he was still disappointed not to have finished the game.
“We didn't end it well. We threw away wickets under pressure towards the end,” he said.
Afghanistan have become only the third team to beat Bangladesh in an ODI at home since 2015, after India and South Africa. On October 1, they have an opportunity to become the first to beat the hosts in a series since 2015.
And that was the reason why the visitors barely celebrated after winning yesterday.
“We are trying our best to win the series. Then we will celebrate,” smirked Nabi.