Afghanistan’s first leg in India was a sheer success against Bangladesh. In the first T20 International match at Dehra Dun, the newbie team toppled Bangladesh by a massive 45 runs. It was the brilliant batting of Mohammad Shahzad and Samiullah Shenwari hauling Afghanistan’s score to 167 runs, while an ingenious attack of bowlers Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman restricted Bangladesh to only 122 runs. Another bowler Shapoor Zadran knocked three wickets, but he also poured out 40 runs. Not only in batting and bowling, Afghanistan played intensively in its fielding department as well. The action-packed catch by Rashid Khan to send down Abu Jayed was an eye-catcher.
Afghanistan started the inning with the eight overs long partnership between Mohammed Shahzad and Usman Ghani. The players scored 62 runs together with strike rate close to 100. Although there were only a couple of big hits, Bangladesh could not take good wickets. Shehzad could not utilize the power play overs. Latter, he was dropped by Shakib-Al Hasan. The opener partnered with Asghar Stanikzai after Ghani was bowled by Rubel Hossain, hauling the score to 86 in 12 overs. He knocked 40 off 37 balls. In the 14th over, Afghanistan lost two wickets struck by Mahmudullah, leaving the inning to the middle order.
Throughout the T20 international match, catch drops irked Bangladesh. Apart from Al Hasan’s slog, Mahmudullah dropped Samiullah Shenwari in the 17th over. It emerged as an expensive affair in the latter balls, even if he was sent back in the last delivery. The sixes in the over dragged his score to 36 off 18 balls. Shafiqullah, on the other hand, added a flashy strike exposing Bangladesh’s wobbly attack. His 8 ball 24 was a final push until the final over. In the last four overs, Bangladesh leaked 62 runs, but in the final one, they managed three batsmen, including Shafiqullah, Stanikzai and Karim Janat.
Afghanistan struck the chase with the first ball sting of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, taking down Tamim Iqbal for a duck. Before the powerplay was over, Shakib Al Hasan was also sent back by the same bowler. By 11 over, the chase wobble to 79 for 5 wickets, with Mohammed Nabi and Rashid Khan leading the attack. The chase could not get out from this slog as Afghanistan’s attack grew stronger. Shapoor Zadran, who was leaking runs in his previous over, found a good form in the 18th over, where he nicked a hat-trick sweeping the lower order. Bangladesh exhausted its line-up in 19 overs.
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