Bangladesh vs Afghanistan has become a fierce rivalry over the last few years in international cricket. Bangladesh has a habit of punching above their weight at the World Cup. Similarly, the Afghans like to play a fearless brand of cricket with aspirations of their own. The picturesque HPCA stadium in Dharamshala was the venue where the budding superpowers clashed in an epic encounter.
Both teams fielded their best events with plenty of spin bowling options as they looked to make the most of the Dharamshala track.
- Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK) 2. Ibrahim Zadran 3. Rahmat Shah 4. Hashmatullah Shahidi (Cap.) 5. Mohammad Nabi 6. Najibullah Zadran 7. Azmatullah Omarzai 8. Rashid Khan 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman 10. Naveen-Ul-Haq 11. Fazalhaq Farooqi
- Liton Das 2. Tanzid Hasan 3. Najmul Hossain Shanto 4. Mehidy Hasan 5. Shakib Al Hasan (Cap.) 6. Mushfiqur Rahim (WK) 7. Towhid Hridoy 8. Mahmudullah 9. Taskin Ahmed 10. Shoriful Islam 11. Mustafizur Rahman
Bangladeshi skipper Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and decided to bowl first.
|Venue||The 3rd game of the 2023 World Cup was played at the stunning HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.|
|Date||The game started at 10:30 am IST on Saturday, October 7.|
Captaincy & Tactics
Afghanistan was scoring quick runs early on with Gurbaz showing his repertoire of cricketing shots. Shakib Al Hasan quickly intervened and introduced spin early on. It was a genius move, the spinners conceded only 43 runs from their first 13 overs. Shakib also displayed his in-game acumen to bring the pacers back to clean off the tail quickly. The decision to bowl first turned out to be the right one, Bangladeshi bowlers performed immaculately to restrict their opponents within a very manageable total.
Shahidi tried to force Bangladeshi batters onto the back foot with pace bowlers taking charge during the early overs. But the spinners let him down with Rashid Khan failing to provide any breakthroughs. 156 on that surface was never enough and Bangladesh cruised to victory within the 35th over.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz has been in dazzling form with the bat recently. The 21-year-old has scored 2 centuries this year and Bangladesh is his favourite opponent with an average of 48.71. He top-scored with 47 runs but could not prevent the Afghan batting collapse. The team went from 83/1 to 156 all out within a 22-over span. Bangladeshi bowlers were brilliant but the selection of shots left a lot to be desired.
Azmatullah Omarzai tried to boost the run rate with a quickfire score of 22 runs which had four boundaries. But the tail could not stop the Bangladeshi onslaught, they were all out within the 38th over.
Liton Das looks spectacular when he is in the mood. He emphasized that point with 2 two eye-soothing boundaries at the start of his innings. But he dragged on to continue his streak getting out unceremoniously. Tanzid Tamim’s inclusion in the place of the experienced Tamim has sparked a lot of controversies back in Bangladesh, but the youngster failed to provide any contribution with a lazy runout.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto has been enjoying a wonderful run of form over the last 12 months. He is the top run scorer for Bangladesh in the ODI format in 2023 with 757 runs scored at an average of 54.07. The left-hander showed maturity by meeting the demands of the situation. He didn’t score a single boundary in his first 29 runs and batted through the chase.
Mehidy Hasan is the ultimate utility man for Bangladesh when it comes to batting positions. The young all-rounder has batted in all positions from 1 to 7 and this match marked his first start at no. 3. He rode his luck three times, but kept scoring runs. His strong zone was the square region with 67% of runs scored in that area.
Shakib Al Hasan brought himself early on and the decision altered the whole complexion of the game. Shakib Al Hasan was the only player in the team who also played in Bangladesh’s last ODI on Indian soil back in 2006. The superstar took 3 wickets in that game, he repeated the feat 17 years later. He broke the opening partnership and followed it up with the second wicket.
Mehidy Hasan was not afraid to pitch the ball up. 35% of his balls dropped on the fuller side yielding two wickets. Hashmatullah was finding life difficult while facing the finger spinner who was bowling on a tight length. The pacers were erratic in the first phases but redressed their length to clean up the tail.
Farooqi was swinging the ball in the first spell and claimed the wicket of Liton. But the spinners failed to back him up with a disappointing display. The much-appreciated Rashid Khan looked a dejected figure with no wickets. He was bowling on a defensive line with only 22% of his deliveries aimed at the wicket.
Bangladesh’s youthful side fielded brilliantly throughout the Afghan innings. It turned out to be an arduous task to field on a sand-based Dharamshala track, but the Bengal Tigers were up to the task. The highlight of the fielding was the running catch of Tanzid Hasan who covered 30 metres to dismiss Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
The target was never going to be big enough, Afghan fielders somehow managed to make it bigger. Mehidy Hasan was dropped twice – first by Najibullah, then Mujeeb made a weak effort to catch the ball on fine leg. The pride was somewhat restored by a brilliant grab by Rahmat Shah. The shot by Mehidy seemed to have cleared long off, but Shah jumped in the air to pluck the ball out of the Himachal air.
Spin was the key factor for the Bangladeshis as Mehidy and Shakib equally shared six wickets between the two. Gurbaz scored 47 runs but no other Afghan batters contributed much to the score.
The match-winning 97-run partnership between Shanto and Mehidy was the ultimate game-winner for Bangladesh. They both scored the fifties to secure Bangladesh’s safe arrival at the destination.
Afghanistan was in control and looked to be on its way to a huge score. Bangladesh was desperately in need of a breakthrough as the players went for a drinks break. The score was 83/1 after 15 overs.
The play resumed and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan deceived Rahmat Shah with a flighted delivery. The Afghan batter tried to sweep it down the leg side, but the timing was wrong. He only managed to find extra cover fielder Liton Das. The momentum swung Bangladesh’s way, it became a one-sided affair from that point on.
Bangladesh recorded a resounding 6-wicket victory to kickstart their World Cup campaign.
Player of the Match
For his heroic all-round display, Mehidy Hasan won the Player of the Match award.
|Afghanistan Total: 156/10 (37.2 overs)||Bangladesh Total: 158/4 (34.4 overs)|
|Rahmanullah Gurbaz 47 (62)||Najmul Hossain Shanto 59* (83)|
|Azmatullah Omarzai 22 (20)||Mehidy Hasan 57 (73)|
|Mehidy Hasan 3/25||Azmatullah Omarzai 1/9|
|Shakib Al Hasan 3/30||Fazalhaq Farooqi 1/19|
It was a dominant display by the Bangladesh team to blow Afghanistan away. Afghanistan was well on course for a 300+ score before the batting collapse occurred. Bangladeshi bowlers came back strongly during the middle overs which decided the game eventually. Despite losing both openers early on, Mehidy and Shanto made sure Bangladesh crossed the finishing line without major setbacks. The Tigers play England in the next game as the Afghans face a tough challenge against India to get their World Cup campaign back on track.