NEW DELHI: Brilliant batting by Asghar Stanikzai (90*) and Samiullah Shenwari (81) followed by some spirited bowling saw Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by 32 runs in theirAsia Cup encounter in Fatullah on Saturday.
Chasing a challenging 255-run target, Bangladesh lost the plot as they kept losing regular wickets at regular intervals.
The hosts suffered their first blow when Shapoor Zadran proved clinical in ripping opener Shamsur Rahman’s (0) off-stump in as early as the first over.
Hamid Hassan then caught Anamul Haque (1) plumb in the very next over to jolt the Bangladesh run-chase.
Nadi, the Afghanistan skipper, gave his team that crucial break when he trapped his Bangladesh counterpart leg before wicket just when he was looking dangerous.
Mominul did try to carry on the momentum after his skipper’s dismissal but his courageous 50-run innings came to an end as spinner Samiullah Shenwari got the better of his stumps.
Mominul (50) hit 6 boundaries before Shenwari was successful in breaching the Bangladesh’s batsman’s defence by knocking his stumps.
Nasir Hossain (41), who then put up a 50-plus run partnership with Naeem Islam, was next in line to be dismissed by Mirwais Ashraf before Naeem (35) too returned to the pavilion an over later.
Ziaur Rahman (41 off 22) then gave the home fans some reason to cheer as he blasted the Afghanistan bowlers to all parts of the ground; however, the glory was short-lived as his fiery innings too went in vain.
Earlier, Afghanistan made a dramatic recovery from a top-order collapse with a late blitzkrieg from Stanikzai and Shenwari to post a fighting total of 254 for six.
Stanikzai and Shenwari shared 164 runs for the sixth wicket to propel Afghanistan to a challenging total after they were reduced to a precarious 90 for five in the 27th over after being put into bat at Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium.
The duo, who started cautiously, finished with a flourish as they punished Bangladesh bowlers in the final 10 overs by collecting 107 runs.
Stanikzai was slow to get going initially as he took 81 balls to reach his fourth ODI fifty.
But after reaching the milestone the 26-year-old cut loose as he carted the hosts’ bowlers all around the park. Stanikzai’s 90-run knock came off 103 balls and included six fours and three sixes.
Shenwari, on the other hand, maintained a brisk scoring rate throughout. He made 81 off just 69 balls, including 10 fours and a six.
The Bangladeshi bowlers did not get support from their fielders who dropped two catches in the innings.
Earlier, Afghanistan openers Mohammad Shahzad (2) and Karim Sadiq (12) departed cheaply. Shahzad was foxed by a slower one from pacer Rubel Hossain and was trapped in front of the wicket, while left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny claimed the scalp of Sadiq who handed a simple return catch to him.
Najibullah Zadran (21) was dismissed soon after as Afghanistan were reduced to 43 for three. His 36-ball knock included two fours.
Next batsman Nawroz Mangal, however, showed some purpose as he hit three fours in his 33-ball 22 before being out in the 23rd over. Afghanistan lost another wicket soon after with skipper Mohammad Nabi dismissed for just seven as the visitors were further reduced to 90 for five inside 27 overs before Stanikzai and Shenwari took them to a respectable total.