Bangladesh made a strong comeback following their defeat against Sri Lanka, delivering an improved batting performance that secured their place in the Super Fours of the 2023 Asia Cup.
Centuries from Shanto and Mehidy Shine
In-form Najmul Hossain Shanto and makeshift opener Mehidy Hasan Miraz played pivotal roles as Bangladesh set an imposing target of 334 for 5. Their centuries proved to be the backbone of Bangladesh’s innings.
Shanto’s Heroic Batting Display
Shanto continued his fine form, following his battling 89 against Sri Lanka with a brisk second ODI century. He showcased his prowess with the bat, while Mehidy posted his highest score in the format before retiring hurt due to cramps in his left arm.
Naim’s Aggressive Start
While Mehidy was opening the batting for the first time in ODIs since the 2018 Asia Cup final, it was Mohammad Naim who dominated the powerplay, setting an aggressive tone for Bangladesh’s innings.
Early Wickets and Shanto’s Resurgence
Bangladesh faced some early setbacks, with Shanto taking six deliveries to get off the mark. However, he soon found his rhythm, hitting back-to-back fours. Mehidy and Shanto went on to form a formidable partnership of 194 runs off 190 deliveries before Mehidy had to retire hurt.
Injuries and Rashid Khan’s Delayed Entry
Injuries became a concern for both Bangladesh and Afghanistan during the match. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s star spinner, sustained an injury while fielding, delaying his entry into the bowling attack.
Mehidy and Shanto’s Remarkable Centuries
Despite the challenges, both Mehidy and Shanto displayed remarkable resilience in the Lahore heat. Mehidy reached his half-century in the 24th over, while Shanto reached his century with a six in the 31st over.
Afghanistan’s Challenging Chase
With a target of 335 to chase, Afghanistan faced an uphill battle, and Shoriful Islam’s early breakthroughs set the tone for Bangladesh’s defense.
Partnerships and Required Run Rate
Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah managed to build a 78-run partnership off 97 deliveries, but Rahmat’s slow scoring increased the required run rate, leading to his eventual dismissal.
Ibrahim’s Fight and Late Wickets
Ibrahim Zadran fought hard, scoring a 74-ball 75, but he eventually edged Hasan Mahmud, resulting in a spectacular one-handed catch by Mushfiqur Rahim. Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran added valuable runs, but Bangladesh’s late wickets, including those taken by Shoriful and Taskin, sealed their victory.