#CWC15: Bangladesh spoil Afghanistan’s debut party after early worries

MATCH 7: Bangladesh started their Cricket World Cup campaign with a 105 run win over debutants Afghanistan in Canberra on Wednesday.

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Afghanistan have traveled a lifetime to get to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and for a while it seemed their debut in world cricket’s showpiece would have the fairytale ending it deserved.

They had reduced Bangladesh to 119 for four in the 30th over, but the dream was not to be as Mushfiqur Rahim (main photo) and Shakib Al Hasan recovered to steer Bangladesh to 267 all out.

Soumya Sarkar was the only bright spark in the early throws of the Bangladesh innings after they had won the toss and opted to take first hit.

The batting powerplay, taken with the score at 146 for four after 35 overs, proved a game changer as Shakib and Mushfiqur added 48 runs.

The pair, both former captains, took the match away from the new boys. Shakib’s 51-ball innings of 63 included 6 fours and a six before he was bowled by Hamid Hassan. The Afghan spearhead may have taken the prized wicket of Shakib, and would also bowl Sabbir Rahman shortly after, but his 10 overs went for 61.

Mushfiqur’s fifty came in only 40 balls and his innings of 71 included 6 fours and a six, as he hit loose deliveries and worked the ball into the gaps.

Afghanistan’s supporters enjoying their Cricket World Cup debut

“It was important for my team to start strongly with the ball and we did just that,” said captain Mashrafe Mortaza later. “We had a reasonable start with the bat, Mushfiqur and Shakib were brilliant.”

An unadventurous opening stand of 47 between Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haques took 14.3 overs to compile and was ended when Mirwais Ashraf found Tamim’s edge and trapped Anamul leg before.

Mahmudullah and Sarkar added 50 for the third wicket before Shapoor came back for a second spell and trapped Sarkar in front. He then had Mahmudullah edging behind to the impressive keeper Zazai.

Shapoor limped off after taking 2 for 20 from his seven overs, and Shenwari bowled just 1.1 overs, taken out of the attack in the 33rd over after he got a second warning for running on to the danger area. The Afghan captain had to turn to his second string attack and Bangladesh wriggled free.

After Mushfiqur and Shakib had added 114 in just 15.3 overs, Mushfiqur made 71 from 56 balls before holing out to deep midwicket.

73 runs were added in the final 10 overs as Bangladesh lost their last six wickets for 34 runs inside six overs, but by then the damage had been done.

It was a total that Afghanistan never troubled after a poor start to their innings. Mortaza, took 3 for 20, and did major damage up front as Afganistan tumbled to 3 for three in the first three overs of their reply. Javed Ahamdi, Afsar Zazai and Ashgar Stanikzai all fell for 1 run apiece.

Two solid partnerships kept Afghanistan’s efforts respectable. 62 runs were added for the fourth wicket by Samiullah Shenwari (42 from 75 balls) and Nawroz Mangal (27 from 57). Then a sixth wicket stand of 58 between Mohammad Nabi (44 from 43) and Najibullah Zadran (17 from 34) maintained steady progress, but at nowhere near the required rate to win the game.

With half the team back in the pavilion and only 78 on the board, Nabi and his partners were fighting to hold their heads high.

Nabi stroked five boundaries in the lost cause before Afghanistan’s resistance end on 162 all out after 42.5 overs as they fell 105 runs short.

“We took early wickets and it was a good performance from the fast bowlers, they had a good partnership in the middle which took them up past 260,” said Nabi after the match. “We lost wickets early and that took the game away from us.

“It’s not a great start but hopefully we will play better in the next games.”

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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