Canberra, Feb 18:
World Cup debutants Afghanistan crumbled against Bangladesh to lose their opening Pool A match by 105 runs at the Manuka Oval here Wednesday.
Mushfiqur Rahim (71) and Shakib Al Hasan (63), in a 114-run fifth-wicket partnership, had propelled Bangladesh to a total of 267 but Afghanistan could manage only 162 in their chase and were bowled out in 42.5 overs.
Experienced pacer Mashrafe Mortaza showed Bangladesh the way by picking two of the first three Afghan wickets that fell for barely three runs. Afghanistan failed to recover from these early blows.
Samiullah Shenwari (42) and skipper Mohammad Nabi (44) tried to rebuild the innings with a 62-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Nawroz Mangal scored 27. But it wasn’t enough.
Bangladesh skipper Mortaza (3/20) got good support from Rubel Hossain (1/27) and Taskin Ahmed (1/23) at the start. Shakib also contributed with the ball, picking 2/43. Mahumudullah also chipped in with a wicket.
Earlier, Bangladesh were struggling at 119/4 when Rahim joined Shakib and they put up a 114-run partnership for the fifth wicket to bail the team out of trouble. They not only stabilised the innings but also ensured that the runs came at a good pace.
Afghanistan opening bowlers Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran made a decent start, not letting opening batsmen Tamim Iqbal (19) and Anamul Haque (29) break free. They bowled with good line and length, forcing the batsmen to play defensively during the first 15 overs.
The Bangladesh batsmen showed a lot of patience and did their best to get the scoreboard ticking.
However, explosive batsman Tamim lost his patience. The left-hander edged medium pacer Mirwais Ashraf’s length ball to wicketkeeper Afsar Zafai, who dived to his left and plucked a single-handed catch.
Ashraf trapped Haque in the fourth ball of the 17th over to send both the settled batsmen packing.
Mahmudullah (23) and Soumya Sarkar (28) did well to stitch a 50-run stand for the third wicket before the latter was dismissed by Zadran in the 26th over. Zadran dealt another blow as he forced an edge off Mahmudullah into the hands of wicketkeeper Afzai.
At 119/4, Rahim joined Shakib with his team reeling. Both the senior players played positively from the start and a partnership flourished.
They didn’t hesitate to punish the weak deliveries and, as a result, their scoring rate remained healthy. They scored 114 runs in 15.4 overs to set the team for a blast at the death. While Shakib recorded his 27th One-Day International (ODI) fifty, Rahim notched up his 19th half-century.
In his 63-run knock, Shakib also became the first Bangladesh batsman to score 4,000 runs in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). The left-handed batsman was 23 runs short of the mark before his 142nd ODI Wednesday.
He clipped medium pacer Aftab Alam towards the leg side in his 26th delivery to sign up for the club with a boundary.
However, both the batsmen lost their wickets and the lower order line-up crumbled against a disciplined Afghanistan bowling.
For Afghanistan, Aftab Alam, Zadran, Hassan, Ashraf picked up two wickets apiece. Nabi took the all important wicket of Rahim.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Bangladesh skipper Mortaza said the win has given them a good start to the quadrennial event.
“Definitely first match is important and we have set the tone,” Mortaza said.
“We had a reasonable start today. Mushy (Mushfiqur Rahim) and Shakib were brilliant. It was that kind of match where you have some pressure. I am happy we adapted.”
However, it was disappointment for Afghanistan captain Nabi.
“We lost too many wickets early, but Nawroz and Sami batted well. Not a good start in the World Cup. We hope to play well in the next match… Thanks to the crowd and to people back home.”
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 267 all out in 50 overs (Mushfiqur Rahim 71, Shakib Al Hasan 63; Shapoor Zadran 2/20, Mirwais Ashraf 2/32), Afghanistan 162 all out in 42.5 overs (Mohammad Nabi 44, Samiullah Shenwari 42; Mashrafe Mortaza 3/20, Shakib Al Hasan 2/43). Bangladesh won by 105 runs. (IANS)