A dismal batting performance caused Bangladesh’s eight-wicket defeat to Afghanistan in the second and final T20 game at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday.
In doing so, the Afghans leveled the series 1-1 and also denied Bangladesh a T20 whitewash, which was on the cards. The Afghanistan similarly avoided a clean sweep in three-match ODI series earlier by winning the third game.
Opener Hazratullah Zazai struck an unbeaten 59 off 45 and shared a 99-run partnership with Usman Ghani for the second wicket to help Afghanistan race to the victory with 14 balls to spare after Bangladesh put up 115-9.
Darwish Rasooli who was not out on 9 wrapped up the game, pulling left- arm spinner Nasum Ahmed a six over deep mid-wicket as Afghanistan made 119-2
Afghanistan lost the first T20 match by 61 runs.
Both teams lined up before the start of play and observed a minute’s silence in memory of Australian legend Shane Warne and Rodney Marsh.
Usman Ghani who survived twice on 39 and 41, scored 47 off 48 with five fours and one six.
Zazai and Ghani’s match-defining partnership came after Afghanistan lost Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 3.
Zazai’s innings was almost chanceless. He slog-swept left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan for six over deep square-leg to reach his third fifty off 37 balls and hit three fours and five sixes in his match-winning knock.
Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim, playing his 100th T20 game as only the second Bangladesh player after captain Mahmudullah Riyad, top-scored for the side with 30.
Riyad however made 21 and in the process became the first Bangladeshi batter to go past 2000-run mark in this format.
Only two other Bangladeshi batters -Liton Das and Naim Sheikh could reach double digits in this match, making an identical 13.
Pacers Fazalhaq Farooqi and Azmatullah Omarzai were the wrecker-in-chief, claiming three wickets apiece, conceding just 18 and 22 runs respectively.
Opting to bat first in a wicket that had a slight grass, Bangladesh made a disastrous start, losing Munim Shahriar for just 4. In form Liton Das though hit a six at the start of the innings, couldn’t make his start count and Naim Sheikh was dismissed after an uncomfortably stay in the crease.
Shakib Al Hasan too looked shaky during his stay in the crease and eventually was out for 9.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah appeared set to bail the side out of danger, putting on 43-run for the fifth wicket stand, which was instrumental in helping Bangladesh propel past 100.
Legspinner Rashid Khan broke the partnership with the wicket of Riyad and then Farooqi removed Mushfiqur Rahim.
Farooqi with the able support from Omarzai then cleaned up the tail to give Afghanistan a short target, which they happily gunned down to end the tour with winning note.