Dominant Afghanistan thrash Bangladesh to seal Super Four spot

The Afghan bowling attack put on yet another incredible performance against new opponents on a new surface when they took on Bangladesh at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the third game of Asia Cup 2022. The game became as intense as it could have been, and even after some valiant efforts from Bangladesh bowlers, Afghanistan batters led the team to confirm a Super Four berth.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman caused much of the assault during the Powerplay, crushing the top-order. On a track where the ball kept coming down, he kept it basic and fired the ball into the stumps, compelling the batters to make a mistake while letting the pitch perform its tricks. The poor choice of shots by the Bangladesh batters led to a batting collapse as skipper Shakib Al Hasan’s decision to bat first backfired.

After going wicketless in the first game, Rashid Khan was under the spotlight as he kept picking wickets at regular intervals and broke Bangladesh’s momentum as their batting unit came crashing down. Skipper Mohammad Nabi had the chance to end the match for good, however, for some reason, he continued to utilize Naveen-ul-Haq’s pace and withheld a few overs of other bowlers.

Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain stitched up the innings in the middle and tried to add some quick runs on the board, but the former had no answers to Rashid Khan’s spin and fell prey to him in the 16th over. Hossain, on the other hand, remained unbeaten but the lack of good support on the other end cost the team as Bangladesh ended up scoring 127/7. Both Mujeeb and Rashid picked up three wickets each.

Afghanistan seal a Super Four berth
With a 128-run target on board, Afghanistan openers Hazratullah Zazai and Rahmanullah Gurbaz walked out to bat. But the Men in Green got an early breakthrough when Shakib Al Hasan struck in the powerplay to send Gurbaz back. Before walking off the field after the powerplay, Zazai had put Afghanistan in a somewhat comfortable situation, but Bangladesh’s fightback was just brilliant.

Afghanistan batters struggled to put up runs on board, and there was a time in the game when it looked like Bangladesh would turn the tables around. But some brilliance with the bat by Najibullah Zadran and Ibrahim Zadran anchored Afghanistan’s innings in the middle. The duo notched up an unbeaten 69-run stand which was studded with multiple fours and sixes.

Najibullah, who walked in at No. 5 produced most of the fireworks and led his side to a massive seven-wicket victory with his unbeaten knock of a 17-ball 43* runs. On the other hand, Ibrahim remained unbeaten for 42*(41). Winning both their games in Group B, Afghanistan have now secured a spot in the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup 2022.