Tigers cruise to consolation victory
Bangladesh fans finally had a day to cheer in the just-concluded ODI series as the home side handed Afghanistan a thumping seven-wicket victory in the third and final ODI in Chattogram today.
Following back-to-back defeats, sandwiched between Tamim Iqbal's retirement saga, the Tigers meant business on the day as they operated proceedings in all departments with full authority – led by pacer Shoriful Islam who grabbed a four-wicket haul.
The visitors, electing to bat first, could not quite recover from the early batting collapse as they were bundled out for 126 – registering their lowest ODI total against Bangladesh.
Middle-order batter Azmatullah Omarzai top-scored for the visitors with 56 off 71 deliveries, while the two centurions of the previous match -- Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran -- were one of the seven Afghan batters who failed to hit double digits.
Shoriful's pace and bounce proved a tough nut to crack for the visitors from the onset, and the likes of Taskin Ahmed and Taijul Islam -- who both returned to the side – scalped two wickets.
Shakib Al Hasan, meanwhile, boasted impressive figures of 10-1-13-1 and thus joined New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori to become the second-highest ODI wicket-taker as a left-arm spinner, with 305 scalps. Fellow spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz also took a wicket.
Chasing a paltry score, the Tigers suffered an early blow with the departure of Naim Sheikh who failed to impress again as he departed for naught off eight balls. Nazmul Hossain Shanto, too, had a disappointing outing but a 61-run stand for the third wicket between Liton Das and Shakib Al Hasan took the match away from the visitors' grasp.
After Shakib got out following a run-a-ball 39, Liton went on to score his 10th ODI half-century. The Bangladesh stand-in skipper remained unbeaten on 53 off 60 balls and was well accompanied by Towhid Hridoy (22 off 19 not out) as the Tigers cruised to victory with 159 balls to spare -- the fifth-highest margin of victory for them in terms of balls remaining in the second innings.
The two teams will move to Sylhet to lock horns in a two-match T20I series, starting from Friday, July 14.