Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, top-scored with 57 as his side shocked Bangladesh by claiming a two-wicket victory in the second One-Day International to level the three-match series 1-1 in Dhaka on Wednesday (September 28).
The bowlers set up the win for Afghanistan as Rashid Khan, the legspinner, took 3 for 35 and Mohammad Nabi claimed 2 for 16 to help the visitors dismiss Bangladesh for a modest 208 on a slow pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Nabi then showed his all-round skill scoring 49 and putting on 107 runs with Stanikzai for the fifth wicket as Afghanistan recovered from 63 for 4 to reach 212 for 8, completing their second win against Bangladesh in four meetings. Stanikzai hit four fours and two sixes in his 95 balls to atone for some of his causal batting in the opening match, which saw Afghanistan lose by seven runs despite dominating Bangladeshi bowlers for a long period.
Defending a modest score, Shakib Al Hasan gave Bangladesh some hope with three early wickets before finishing with 4 for 47, but Nabi and Stanikzai stood firm to put Afghanistan in a strong position.
Mashrafe Mortaza trapped Nabi leg before to end their partnership before Mosaddek Hossain, the debutant who claimed 2 for 30, including one off his first ball, removed Stanikzai.
But Najibullah Zadran made 22 and other lower-order batsmen gave him valuable support to see Afghanistan home, setting the third and final match on October 1 as the series decider.
Stanikzai hailed his bowlers for their brilliant effort. “This match, the credit goes to the team. Nabi and Rashid bowled really well,” he said. “The ball reversed in the end, but Najib did it for us.”
Earlier, Bangladesh could only pass the 200-run mark owing to an unbeaten 45 runs of Mosaddek, who shared 43 runs with Rubel Hossain in the last-wicket partnership.
Put into bat first, Bangladesh, who were looking for their 100th ODI win and to wrap-up the series after winning in the first game, made a cautious start with the opening pair fetching 45 runs. Mirwais Ashraf, who claimed 2 for 23, removed both Tamim Iqbal (20) and Soumya Sarkar (20) before Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad revived the innings, adding 61 runs for the third wicket.
Afghanistan’s spinners took control of the proceedings once Naveen-ul-Haq bowled Mahmudullah for 25. Rahim, who scored 38, soon followed Mahmudullah attempting his favourite slog-sweep as Naveen took the catch at deep square-leg off Shah. Nabi trapped Shakib leg before for 17 before Rashid worked out the lower order.
Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, lamented their poor batting. “(Our) batting wasn’t up to the mark. The wicket was on the slow side, and after getting 20-30 runs, somebody should have made a good score,” he said.