Shakib Al Hasan's masterclass sees Bangladesh through
He made an unbeaten 70 off 45 balls, as he rode out the pressure created by Afghanistan's spinners, even as wickets kept falling at the other end
Bangladesh 139 for 6 (Shakib 70*, Naveen 2-20) beat Afghanistan 138 for 7 (Hazratullah 47, Afif 2-9) by four wickets
Shakib Al Hasan's calculated counterattack helped Bangladesh win a tense game by four wickets in Chattogram, marking their first win over Afghanistan in a T20 in five years. Shakib's knock helped his side chase down 139 after they were struggling at 104 for 6 in the 16th over, with the captain batting on 54.
Shakib finished on an unbeaten 70 off 45 balls with eight fours and a six, as he rode out the pressure created by Afghanistan's spinners, even as wickets kept falling at the other end.
Shakib strikes down Rashid
Shakib finished on top in the battle of the captains. With Bangladesh needing 27 off 18 balls, Shakib turned the game Bangladesh's way by hitting Rashid Khan for a four and a six in an 18-run over that left them needing just nine off the last two overs.
Rashid had gone off the field in the eighth over with a hamstring niggle. He returned to bowl the 14th over and removed Mahmudullah for 6, before dismissing Afif Hossain for 2 in his next over, leaving Bangladesh six down. When Rashid returned for the 18th over, Mosaddek Hossain started with a four past short third man before Shakib muscled the ball over midwicket twice, first for a four and then a six that landed in the stands.
Bangladesh's seniors to the rescue
Bangladesh lost their openers within the first four overs which left them at 12 for 2. Mujeeb Ur Rahman had Liton Das caught for 4 in the third over, and in the next over Najmul Hossain Shanto became Naveen-ul-Haq's maiden T20I wicket as he chipped a slower ball to Rashid at midwicket.
Shakib provided the relief for Bangladesh by striking two fours to end the Powerplay on 28 for 2. He picked up the singles and twos on offer and brought up a calculated fifty off 35 balls in the 15th over. He added 58 runs for the third wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim, who survived in the tenth over when substitute Najeeb Tarakai, on for Rashid, dropped a catch on the leg side. Mushfiqur, however, fell in the very next over when he dragged a pull off Karim Janat to deep midwicket for 26.
Yet another strong start for Afghanistan
Afghanistan's openers put up yet another strong show. Rahmanullah Gurbaz was lucky to be dropped on 1 in the second over, but that hardly stopped the Afghanistan openers from going big. Hazratullah Zazai struck Shafiul Islam for two fours in the fourth over and then blasted Mahmudullah for two fours and a six in a 16-run over to round off a good Powerplay. They took turns to hit three more sixes in the next three overs. Gurbaz then connected with a reverse sweep off Mosaddek for six, stretching the run rate further despite the end of the Powerplay.
Collapse dents final flourish
But after the 75-run opening stand ended, Afghanistan lost their next six wickets for 39 runs. Hazratullah's wicket in the tenth over, after he made a quick 47 off 35 balls, triggered the collapse. After Afif had Hazratullah top-edge to short fine leg, he removed Asghar Afghan for a second-ball duck.
Gurbaz was caught and bowled by Mustafizur Rahman for 29 before Shakib had Mohammad Nabi lbw for 4. A run-out soon removed Gulbadin Naib, and Najibullah Zadran and Janat then fell in successive overs, as Afghanistan meandered to 114 for 7 in the 17th over. They managed only two fours in the 31 runs they scored in the last five overs.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84