Afghanistan earned a hard-fought two-wicket win in the second ODI against Bangladesh in Mirpur to level the three-match series, banking on astute planning to leave the home crowd at the Shere Bangla National Stadium stunned. The win came mainly through a 107-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Mohammad Nabi and captain Asghar Stanikzai in a chase of 209. Both batsmen were out with Afghanistan 35 away from a win, but Najibullah Zadran rallied the lower order and the side scraped through with two balls to spare.
Nabi and Stanikzai came together at the crease in the 16th over with Afghanistan at 63 for 4, following Mohammad Shahzad's miscued slog to backward point off Shakib Al Hasan. The pair struck a four and a six off Shakib in the same over but had to wait another 5.4 for another boundary.
Despite the lull in boundaries, the pair kept rotating the strike and Stanikzai fought cramps to score his sixth ODI fifty, which included four fours and two sixes. Nabi, who had taken the wickets of Shakib and Mashrafe Mortaza earlier in the match, missed out on the landmark when Mashrafe trapped him lbw in the 40th over, and the side lost Stanikzai in the next over, caught at the deep square leg boundary off debutant Mosaddek Hossain.
Rashid Khan became Shakib's fourth victim, in his final over, trapped plumb in front for 5, with Afghanistan 20 runs away from the target. Mirwais Ashraf played out Shakib's last two deliveries carefully, and the bowler ended with returns of 4 for 47. Najibullah and Ashraf then saw off the next over, which was Mashrafe's last.
The match could have still swung Bangladesh's way had Mushfiqur Rahim completed an easy stumping of Zadran with 13 runs required. Bangladesh's players were crestfallen, but Taskin ended up removing the left-hander in the final over with the scores level. The winning hit came from the other Zadran, Dawlat, who slashed a boundary through backward point.
Afghanistan's chase had started with Shahzad flicking a four off the first ball before Nawroz Mangal took two fours off Shakib in the fourth over. Two balls later, however, Mangal misread Shakib's length and spooned a catch to cover. Shakib went onto have Rahmat Shah lbw for a two-ball duck in the same over.
Shahzad sparkled briefly and added 45 runs for the third wicket with Hashmatullah Shahidi, who was trapped lbw for 14 by Mosaddek off his first ball in ODI cricket. Shakib then had Shahzad skewing a catch to backward point for a run-a-ball 35.
Bangladesh's innings would have ended sooner had it not been for the 43-run stand for the tenth wicket between Mosaddek and Rubel, who kept out Rashid's hat-trick delivery in the 43rd over. Rashid was rampant at that stage, having removed Taijul and Taskin off successive balls.
Mosaddek finished with an unbeaten 45, including four boundaries and two sixes. The scoop over long leg and pull over midwicket stood out. When he had come out to bat, Bangladesh were 138 for 5 with Shakib having been given out lbw to a debatable decision. Mosaddek saw wickets tumble around him, but stayed composed.
Earlier, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah added 61 for the third wicket, but Bangladesh lost their last seven wickets for 86 runs. That proved the turning point.