A disciplined performance from Afghanistan’s bowlers, especially their spinners, helped the visitors bundle the hosts out for just 208 in 49.2 overs in the second ODI at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
It could have been a worse scenario had debutant Mosaddek Hossain not played a 45-ball 45 towards the end and carried the tail along with him.
After winning the toss under cloudy skies, Afghanistan skipper elected to field first. Initially it seemed as though the decision to field first wasn’t right as Bangladesh’s openers made a much better start than the first ODI.
Both Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal seemed to be hitting the ball well. Some of Soumya’s drives made many reckon that the batsman was finally getting back his rhythm.
However, both the batsmen lost their wickets while attempting to up the run-rate after putting on 43 runs in the first ten overs. Tamim attempted to hit a disciplined Mirwais Ashraf across the line and produced an edge that third man gladly accepted in the 11th over.
Two overs later, Soumya, who was looking really good, came down the track against the same bowler and tried to slog that from outside off but eventually scooped one towards the fielder at cover.
Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur Rahim were given the job to make amends and they seemed to be doing well. On a wicket that seemed slightly more difficult than the first ODI with the ball staying a touch low, the two batsmen rotated the strike well and showed patience.
Having observed Bangladesh’s weakness against leg-spinners Afghanistan’s skipper brought both Rahmat Shah, who scored a fantastic half-century in the first game and Rashid Khan into the attack.
While Rashid was as brilliant as ever with his variations, Rahmat merely did what was asked of him — bowl loopy leg-spinners. It was a plan that compelled both Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah to stay subdued. Most of the boundaries that came were through risky glides behind the keeper. Yet they did well to post a half-century stand.
Once the leg-spinner was taken off and pacer Naveen-ul-Haq was brought on, the pair reckoned that this would be the chance to attack. Their run-rate was slightly low with the hosts requiring 22.1 overs to cross 100.
Mahmudullah tried to force Naveen for a boundary in the last ball of the 25th over and that led to him inside-edging the delivery, which stayed a little low, to the stumps.
Three overs later, Mushfiqur was once again dismissed while trying to play a slog-sweep. He tried to sweep Shah for a boundary, but only managed to find the fielder in the deep. Bangladesh were suddenly struggling at 122 for four.
Shakib and Sabbir Rahman had to build a new partnership.
Fresh from a good performance in the first ODI, Shakib was welcomed with a rousing roar in the stadium. In his very first ball he tried to slash a turner from Rahmat Shah through covers for a four but only managed to nick it. Fortunately for him the keeper could not grab on to it.
He was given a let-off again, this time on 17, off Mohammad Nabi. Shakib tried to hit Nabi through the covers but instead found the fielder who dropped a sitter.
However, the left-hander could not make the visitors pay as Nabi trapped him in front two balls later in the 32nd over and removed Bangladesh’s best hope.
In the very next ball of the new over, Sabbir Rahman was dismissed by a googly from Rashid Khan, akin to the first ODI.
Mohammad Nabi got the captain in over number 34 and suddenly Bangladesh were struggling at 141 for 7.
Taijul Islam and Mosaddek tried to build a stand but once Rashid Khan was brought back in the 43rd over, the tail crumbled.
He first removed Taijul with a pin-point accurate turner that landed on the middle and turned a bit to beat Taijul’s defence. And then in the very next ball he removed Taskin Ahmed with a similar delivery.
Suddenly 18-year-old Rashid was on a hattrick. Rashid bowled a double-wicket maiden and reduced Bangladesh to 165 for nine by the 43rd over.
But that’s when Mosaddek, playing his first match, started to unfurl his repertoire. The batsman, who arrived at the crease and immediately found himself in trouble with the tail, shared a 43-run stand with Rubel Hossain, the highest 10th-wicket stand in the first innings for Bangladesh.
He scored 45 off 45 balls and immediately justified the team management’s decision to bring him into the playing eleven.
He smacked two sixes and four fours during his knock and had it not been for a run-out in the second ball of the last over, he could have scored a half-century on his debut.
He hit one towards the boundary and expected Rubel to come back for the second. But Rubel stopped after taking the first run and started for the double seconds later, which eventually led to him getting run out.