Taskin Ahmed made a brilliant comeback to international cricket as he claimed four wickets to help Bangladesh pull off a thrilling seven-run win in their first One-Day International against Afghanistan at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday (September 25).
Replying to Bangladesh’s 265 all out, Afghanistan looked well in control when Rahmat Shah (71 in 93 balls) and Hashmatullah Shahidi (72 in 110 balls) put on a solid 144 runs for the third wicket.
Shakib Al Hasan (2-26) broke the stand before Bangladesh clawed their way back to dismiss Afghanistan for 258 runs off the last ball of the match. Shakib’s exploits enabled him overtake Abdur Razzak as Bangladesh’s leading wicket-taker in ODIs with 208 scalps.
Taskin, who was cleared to bowl in international cricket just two days ago, held his nerve in the final over, when Afghanistan needed 13 runs, and the visiting side, who lost their last six wickets for just 28 runs, could manage just five.
“We knew this game was going to be tricky,” said Shakib, who won the Man of the Match award for his all-round performance – he had scored a 40-ball 48 earlier on. “We are playing ODIs after almost a year. We were careful and short by 20 runs.”
In the first half of the game, after Bangladesh opted to bat, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah struck half-centuries to guide them to a respectable total. They suffered a blow in the first over when Dawlat Zadran dismissed Soumya Sarkar for nought, but the top order soon regained the initiative.
Tamim struck nine fours in his 80 (98 balls) and, in the process, became the first Bangladeshi to score 9000 runs in international cricket. He put on 83 with Imrul Kayes (37 in 53 balls) for the second wicket and then another 79 with Mahmudullah for the third wicket before being removed by Mirwais Ashraf.
Mahmudullah scored 62 off 74 balls and looked poised for a big innings after reaching his half-century with a boundary off Dawlat.
But Mohammad Nabi removed Mahmudullah, who also struck five fours in his innings, when Ashraf took a fine catch diving forward at backward square-leg.
Afghanistan made something of a comeback when Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman fell cheaply, but Shakib ensured Bangladesh did not lose their way.
“Last three months we were working hard, but the way we played we were not up to the mark. We could have scored 280-plus, but the set batsmen got out,” said Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, afterwards.
Dawlat claimed four wickets for 73 while Nabi and Rashid Khan grabbed two wickets each for Afghanistan.
Asghar Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, hailed the performance of the Bangladeshi bowlers. “Congratulations, Bangladesh. Their bowlers bowled very well, that’s why they won the match,” he said,
The second and third matches will be held at the same venue on September 28 and October 1.