‘Always difficult when you lose four wickets in seven overs’

Afghanistan's Najibullah Zadran and teammate Ibrahim Zadran leave with Bangladesh's players after winning their Asia Cup group stage match against Bangladesh at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on August 30, 2022. Photo: AFP

Batting failures once again proved to be Bangladesh's downfall as they ended up losing their first Asia Cup 2022 match against Afghanistan by seven wickets at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Bangladesh posted a meagre 127 for seven before putting up a fight with some tight bowling.

However, an unbeaten 33-ball 69-run partnership between Najibullah Zadran and Ibrahim Zadran for the fourth wicket sealed an easy win for the Afghans.

Bangladesh struggled from the start after skipper Shakib Al Hasan elected to bat, as they were left reeling on 53 for five inside eleven overs.

Mosaddek Hossain remained unbeaten on 48 off 31 balls and Mahmudullah Riyad added 25 off 27 balls.

According to Shakib, who was featuring in his 100th T20I yesterday, the Tigers were 10-15 runs short. He also credited the bowlers for showing a fighting spirit.

"It's always difficult when you lose four wickets inside seven overs. I think in the end we were 10-15 runs short. Mosaddek played well but we needed more contributions," Shakib said during the post-match presentation ceremony.

Afghanistan looked in trouble at one point in their innings courtesy of that disciplined bowling, with the scoreboard reading 62 for three after 13 overs and the required run rate having jumped to 10 per over.

Having brought that equation down to 43 needed from last four overs, Najibullah Zadran struck two sixes to Mustafizur Rahman -- who ended up conceding 17 runs in a game-changing 17th over.

Najibullah went on to smash another couple of sixes off Saifuddin as Afghanistan took 22 runs from the 18th over and he remained unbeaten on 43 off just 17 balls after smashing six maximums.

At the other end, Ibrahim Zadran was unbeaten on 42 off 41 balls as Afghanistan confirmed top spot in Group B.

"We know Najibullah is a dangerous batsman. We thought we had the game when they needed 60-odd in the last 6 overs. But credit to Najibullah," Shakib said.

Bangladesh will take on Sri Lanka on September 1 at the Dubai International Cricket stadium. The winner of that match will qualify for the Super Four stageas the second team from Group B.


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