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The Report by Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
March 16, 2014
Bangladesh 78 for 1 (Anamul 44*) beat Afghanistan 72 (Shakib 3-8, Razzak 2-20) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Everything came together for Bangladesh, on the day it really had to be just right. By beating Afghanistan by nine wickets in the World T20 opener, they took a big step towards entering the main draw of their home tournament, and avoided the discomfort of losing to an Associate nation twice in the space of 16 days.
Mushfiqur Rahim's decision to bowl first was slightly strange given that he felt the day before that chasing was hard in T20s. But his decision was vindicated by Bangladesh's best bowling performance in this format. Skittling Afghanistan out for just 72 runs in 17.1 overs was the first time they had bowled out an opposition in T20s.
Bangladesh enjoyed their best Powerplay overs as a bowling unit, sending down 24 dot balls in the first six overs and taking three wickets. Abdur Razzak got his arm-ball groove back, nailing Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari, two batsmen who could have taken it away for Afghanistan.
Shakib, Dawlat fined
Mahmudullah bowled the most economical completed spell in T20s for Bangladesh, giving away just eight runs in his four overs, and Shakib Al Hasan picked up three cheap wickets.
Afghanistan's crash to 72 all out started in the very first ball of the match. Mohammad Shahzad, the only batsman from their side to have more than 1000 runs in all levels of T20 cricket, went after Mashrafe Mortaza far too early. He holed out to mid-off, giving Bangladesh the perfect start.
Gulbadin Naib and Najeeb Tarakai slowed down slightly, before playing some shots when the bowlers pitched short or wide, but such release deliveries were rare, especially after Mushfiqur Rahim turned the screws by bringing on Shakib.
In the sixth over, Naib was dropped by Sabbir Rahman at long-on, a regulation chance, but he chanced his arm the next ball, launching one to the fielder's right. Sabbir took the harder running catch, and Afghanistan's batting collapse began.
Tarakai, having crossed over, gave cover a simple catch when he top-edged Shakib off the next ball. In the next over, Sabbir made his presence felt once again with a direct hit from short fine-leg, catching Nawroz Mangal short of the crease. Three wickets lost in six balls, without a run added.
What was required at this point was for Nabi to play till the end but the Afghanistan captain was stung by a Razzak arm-ball that made it 49 for 5 in the 10th over. Karim Sadiq was run out trying to take a second in the 12th over, another direct hit from Farhad Reza running in from the deep.
Shenwari and Shafiqullah were out off successive balls thereafter, though the latter didn't edge the Mahmudullah delivery that climbed on him awkwardly.
Bangladesh's task was simple as they began their chase: hold the Afghanistan seam attack at bay and play away the spinners. Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque made a good start, particularly given how much Nabi and Sadiq made the new ball turn.
Tamim was lbw to Shenwari's leg-break, missing the line of the ball as he pressed forward to defend, having made 21 off 27 balls.
Anamul remained aggressive, hammering a couple of sixes to get himself going before flicking and driving boundaries. When Anamul hammered the winning six with eight overs remaining, he was unbeaten on 44 off 31 balls; Shakib, at the other end, was batting on 10. This was Anamul's third six, all hit down the ground.
The win broke Bangladesh's 10-match losing streak in World T20s since 2007, and was their second win in this competition. Strikingly, this was their first international win since November 3.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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