Afghanistan never recovered from a horror start as Bangladesh overpowered the World Cup newcomers by 105 runs at Canberra’s Manuka Oval yesterday.
Afghanistan marked their World Cup debut by holding Bangladesh to 267 all out after losing the toss, but crumbled to 3-3 in the opening three overs of their reply.
Their chaotic start with the bat meant Afghanistan were never likely to repeat their win over Test nation Bangladesh at last year’s Asia Cup one-day tournament.
Bangladesh, cheered on by their passionate fans, must now beat at least one of the big four in Pool A — co-hosts Australia and New Zealand, Sri Lanka and England — and also win against Scotland to keep their quarter-final hopes alive.
The Tigers new-ball attack, spearheaded by skipper Mashrafe Mortaza (three for 20), proved too much for Afghanistan to handle, even on a placid batting pitch, and they were dismissed for 162 with more than seven overs left.
Javed Ahmadi was out for 1 on the last ball of the opening over after a leading edge to a short-pitched delivery from Mortaza saw him caught and bowled.
Afsar Zazai followed next ball in the following over by Rubel Hossain, leg before wicket for 1, before Asghar Stanikzai made it 3-3 when he edged Mortaza to Mahmudullah, who held a juggled chance at first slip.
Nawroz Mangal and Samiullah Shenwari stabilized the innings with a 62-run stand, before Nawroz was out for 27 slog-sweeping Mahmudullah to Rubel at deep square-leg.
Hossain injured his knee in making the tumbling catch, but there was more damage to Afghanistan, who slumped to 65-4.
Shenwari was run out for 42 going for a second run by Shabbir Rahman’s throw from fine-leg even though he dived to make his ground.
Najibullah Zadran went leg before wicket to Shakib for 17, skipper Mohammad Nabi spooned a catch to Soumya Sarkar off Mortaza for 44 and Mirwais Ashraf was taken by Mortaza at long-off from Shakib for 10 as the Afghanistan resistance succumbed.
Earlier, Bangladesh were indebted to man-of-the-match Mushfiqur Rahim, who top-scored with 71 off 56 balls, while star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with 63 off 51 balls.
Mushfiqur and Shakib lived up to their reputation as Bangladesh’s best batsmen with a defiant century stand to kick along their team’s dawdling early scoring rate.
Shakib slammed paceman Hamid Hassan for four and six, before going for another big heave only to be bowled off an inside-edge.
Top-rated all-rounder, Shakib put on 114 runs for the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur. It was the fourth century stand the pair had shared and they have now scored 1,725 runs together at 39.20.
However, wickets tumbled in the final overs, with Hamid, Shapoor Zadran, Mirwais Ashraf and Aftab Alam all taking two apiece.
Medium-pacer Mirwais claimed the honor of getting Afghanistan’s first wicket at the World Cup when he had Tamim Iqbal caught superbly by diving wicketkeeper Zazai.
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