Canberra, Feb 18: Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim struck resilient half-centuries as Bangladesh got past a fighting Afghanistan by 105 runs in their opening pool match of the ICC World Cup, here today.
Shakib (63 off 51 balls) and Rahim (71 off 56 balls) lifted Bangladesh to 267 after they were struggling at 119 for four. In the process, the two shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 114 runs to take the Tigers to a competitive total.
In reply, the Afghans were bundled out for a meagre 162 in 42.5 overs. They had far from an ideal start as the Afghans lost three wickets for as many runs on the board. Nawroz Mangal (27) and Samiullah Shenwari (42) steadied the boat for a while, putting on 62 runs for the fourth wicket.
After Mangal and Shenwari's got dismissed in quick succession, leaving Afghanistan reeling at 78 for five again, skipper Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran (17) shared 58 runs for the sixth wicket to keep the hopes of the team from war-torn nation alive.
But just when Bangladesh were preparing to press the panic button, Mashrafe Mortaza sent the Afghanistan captain back for a well-made 43-ball 44 that include five boundaries with the last ball of the over, while Shakib-al-Hasan dismissed Zardan with the first ball of the very next over to virtually end their hopes of making a comeback.
With the scorecard reading 136 for seven, it was just a matter of time before Afghanistan innings folded. Although Mirwais Ashraf (10) and Aftab Alam (14) tried hard to apply themselves the Bangladesh bowlers tightened the nooze. For Bangladesh, Mortaza was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 20, while Shakib took two for 43.
Earlier, electing to bat, Bangladesh were set for a bigger score, but the wickets of Shakib and Rahim not only stirred a collapse but gave the Afghan bowlers a new lease of life as Mortaza and company lost five wickets for just 34 runs in the last five overs of the innings.
An inspired spell of bowling from Mirwais Ashraf (2/32) saw Afghanistan push Bangladesh on the backfoot as the medium-pacer sent openers Anamul Haque and (29) Tamim Iqbal (19) back in the hut early.
Tomorrow's match (February 19) - UAE Vs Zimbabwe (3.30 AM IST)