Shakib al Hasan starred with both bat and ball as Bangladesh beat Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday to ensure their slim chance of reaching the semi-final remains intact. Chasing 263 to win, Afghanistan could only manage 200 as Shakib enjoyed a fine day out on a pitch that assisted spinners, taking 5 for 29 to ensure Afghanistan slumped to yet another defeat.
Put into bat, Bangladesh decided to open with Liton Das and pushed Soumya Sarkar lower down the order. The move backfired as the right-hander after an impressive start, fell early to Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Tamil Iqbal made 36 runs before being removed by Mohammed Nabi by 36. Shakib Al Hasan was yet again remarkable. He reclaimed top spot on the World Cup 2019 leading run-scorers list with a fine 69-ball 51-run inning. With the ball gripping a bit, Afghanistan’s spin trio proved quite effective, especially Mujeeb ur Rahman, who followed his first scalp with the wickets of Shakib and Soumya Sarkar in successive overs in his second spell, to reduce Bangladesh to 151 for 4 in the 32nd over.
Rahim top-scored with a gritty 83, powering Bangladesh past the 250-run mark. His ability to play spin was on show and he managed to keep the Afghan spinners at bay before being dismissed in the penultimate over. His 83-run knock was laced with four boundaries and a six.
Afghanistan made a fine start to the chase, with openers Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah batting sensibly to take them to 48 for 0 after the first 10 overs. Shakib was brought on to bowl the 11th over and struck immediately, getting Rahmat Shah to give a simple catch to Tamim Iqbal at mid-on. Hashmatullah Shahidi was dismissed by Mosaddek Hossasain for 11. Captain Naib did get a few runs but was extremely scratchy and nobody in the top order could influence the run rate. Shakib completed the fairytale feat of a fifty and a fifer in the match.
His spell virtually killed the game and although the Shenwari-Najibullah stand rekindled some hope, the asking rate had shot up beyond reach for this sort of a pitch and were all out for 200 runs in 47 overs. With this win Bangladesh kept their hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals with 7 points after 7 matches.