Bangladesh enters the Super Fours thanks to Mehidy and Shanto
Bangladesh defeated Afghanistan and earned a spot in the Super Fours of the Asia Cup 2023 by recovering from their loss to Sri Lanka with a significantly improved batting performance.
Prior to Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam helping to finish off Afghanistan for 245, centuries from the in-form Najmul Hossain Shanto and temporary starter Mehidy Hasan Miraz helped Bangladesh record an impressive 334 for 5.
Shanto scored a quick second ODI century to back up his courageous 89 against Sri Lanka, while Mehidy reached his highest score in the format before leaving the game hurt due to left arm cramping.
Mehidy took some time to get going in the batting order, and Mohammad Naim took control of the powerplay for the first time in ODIs since the 2018 Asia Cup final.
Fazalhaq Farooqi’s second delivery was hit through point by Naim for the game’s first boundary as he started attacking the bowlers from the first over.
If not for a fantastic googly from Mujeeb Ur Rahman that spun past Naim’s outside edge and crashed into his off stump, Bangladesh would have completed the power play at a rate of about a run per ball and practically without suffering any damage.
Towhid Hridoy, rather than Shanto, unexpectedly came out at No. 3; however, Shanto did not have to wait long to participate as Hridoy was dismissed after edging Gulbadin Naib to first slip on the second ball.
When Shanto finally got his groove, he struck Naib for back-to-back fours after needing six deliveries to get off to a start with a boundary through the leg side. After a 194-run partnership off 190 deliveries, Mehidy and Shanto continued to wear down Afghanistan. Mehidy eventually had to withdraw due to injury.
Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s premier spinner, wounded himself while playing the field and didn’t make his debut until the 17th over. He bowled only four overs during his first spell, which he began with a maiden, before being reintroduced in the 32nd over for a second spell.
Mehidy struggled throughout the innings for Bangladesh, and Shanto pulled up as he finished a run. Despite these injuries, both hitters persevered in the sweltering heat of Lahore. Shanto pulled Farooqi for a six in the 31st over to earn his half-century while Mehidy reached his in the 24th over.
Mehidy required 115 deliveries to reach his century; but, after mistiming a pull from Naib, he dashed for a single. Shanto pulled Rashid for two boundaries in a 12-run over as he returned for his third spell in the 42nd over.
During the subsequent over, Mehidy turned inside out to hit Mujeeb for a six over additional cover before physiotherapists had to arrive to address his cramps. Mehidy was forced to leave the field, while Shanto, who had scored 89 against Sri Lanka, reached a century in 101 balls in the same over.
After reverse-sweeping Mujeeb, Shanto was run out for 104 after slipping while attempting a single.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz was trapped lbw by Shoriful Islam with the fourth delivery of the second over as Bangladesh maintained their momentum in their defense of 335. Gurbaz could have been dismissed two balls earlier by Shoriful, who hit him with an inswinger and caught him on the pads, but Bangladesh decided not to appeal the on-field not-out ruling. The cost was not realized.
After that, Rahmat Shah and Ibrahim Zadran pulled together a 78-run partnership off 97 deliveries, although Rahmat’s 33 came after 57 deliveries, thus the asking rate was increasing with each new over. Rahmat eventually lost to a slower one from Taskin that stayed close to the ground.
With a 74-ball 75, Ibrahim attempted to keep Afghanistan in the game, but he was edged by Hasan Mahmud, and Mushfiqur Rahim made a spectacular one-handed catch diving to his right.
The pace increased up when Hashmatullah Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran added 62 runs off 52 deliveries for the fourth wicket. Mehidy then dismissed Najibullah after he missed a swipe across the line.
Prior to hitting Gulbadin Naib’s stumps for his third wicket, Shoriful had Shahidi caught at deep third. Mohammad Nabi, Rashid, and Mujeeb’s wickets were taken by Taskin, who finished with four total wickets.