Mustafizur Rahman defended the eight runs that Afghanistan needed off the last over to seal a thrilling win for Bangladesh in their Asia Cup Super Four match.
The left-arm pacer gave away just four runs and even added a wicket in the final over as Afghanistan crashed out of the Asia Cup.
The result means that the match between Bangladesh and Pakistan will be a virtual semifinal, the winner of which will go on to face India in the final.
Mahmudullah Riyad and Imrul Kayes pull Bangladesh out of trouble as Tigers post competetive total against Afghanistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Bangladesh did not quite get off to the best of starts in the do-or-die match against Afghanistan and then lost their way after some rebuilding work from Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim. However, two run outs, that too of the team’s most experienced batsmen Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, brought Afghanistan back into the game.
With the score at 5 for 87, Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah Riyad stood firm, starring in a 128-run partnership. Riyad was in fine form, hitting an 81-ball 74 with three fours and three sixes. Imrul Kayes, who was surprisingly called back in to the squad while he was playing at Khulna, struck a 89-ball 72, hitting a boundary off the last delivery of the innings off Gulbadin Naib as Bangladesh posted.
Earlier, Liton was looking in good touch as he started rebuilding the innings after the fall of opener Nazmul Hossain, who fell off a rash shot and Mohammad Mithun, out leg-before to Mujeeb Ur Rahman as Tigers slipped to 2 for 18 in 5.3 overs.
Liton too fell after a rash shot as he skied a Rashid Khan delivery. Shakib got out at zero, for his second duck of the tournament after a communication mishap with Mushfiqur, who himself followed suit and was run-out after a well-made 33 off 52 deliveries.
Bangladesh made two changes to the side which lost the first Super Four match against India by seven wickets on Friday. Opener Imrul Kayes, who had arrived in the UAE at 10:30pm on Saturday night, replaced Mosaddek Hossain and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam got his debut, replacing pacer Rubel Hossain.
Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Nazmul Hossain, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Nazmul Islam, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (captain), Mustafizur Rahman
Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Ihsanullah Janat, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan (captain), Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shenwari, Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Aftab Alam