Shakib stars again as Bangladesh down Afghanistan to keep their hopes alive

SOUTHAMPTON: Shakib al Hasan starred with both bat and ball as Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 62 runs at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday to ensure their slim chance of reaching the semi-final remains intact. Chasing 263 to win, Afghanistan could only manage 200 as Shakib enjoyed a fine day out on a pitch that assisted spinners, taking 5-29 to ensure Afghanistan slumped to yet another defeat. Afghanistan made a fine start to the chase, with openers Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah batting sensibly to take them to 48-0 after the first 10 overs. Shakib was brought on to bowl the 11th over and struck immediately, getting Shah to give a simple catch to Tamim Iqbal at mid-on. Naib and new batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi put together 30 runs before the latter fell to Mosaddek Hossain after some good work from Mushfiqur Rahim saw the batsman stumped.

Undeterred, Naib looked to up the ante and even managed a couple of boundaries but fell three short of his half-century when he lobbed a simple catch to Liton Das at short cover. Shakib further turned the screws on the minnows as he rattled the stumps of the dangerous Mohammad Nabi in the same over for a duck. He then accounted for Asghar Afghan before Ikram Ali Khil was run-out in careless fashion. However, the duo of Samiullah Shinwari and Najibullah Zadran launched a brief counter-attack thereafter. Their 56-run stand consisted of four boundaries and one six but any hopes of them getting the team over the line were dashed when Shakib got Najibullah stumped to claim his fifth wicket of the match.

Rashid Khan fell cheaply when he tried to pull a bouncer from Mustafizur Rahman but only found Mashrafe Mortaza at mid-wicket. Dawlat Zadran fell for nought after he edged one to Rahim off Mustafizur and the match ended when Mohammad Saifuddin rattled Mujeeb ur Rahman’s stumps on the last ball of the 47th over. Earlier, half-centuries from Mushfiqur and Shakib took Bangladesh to 262-7 after Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bowl first on a day when the start of play was delayed by light rain.

Shakib’s 51 took him to 476 runs in the tournament, while Rahim top-scored in Bangladesh’s 50 overs with an 87-ball 83. Liton was promoted ahead of Soumya Sarkar to open along with Tamim for Bangladesh, with the pair managing a brisk 23 from the first four overs.

But Liton fell for 16 in the next over after being fooled into a miscued drive by Mujeeb, who finished with figures of 3-39. That brought Shakib to the crease and he upped the tempo even further with some aggressive hitting that maintained his fine World Cup form. Tamim and Shakib put on their fourth successive fifty partnership in one-day internationals. But having been hit for a boundary the ball before, Nabi responded with a flighted turner that bowled Tamim for 36. Shakib survived an lbw review off Rashid when he had made 27. Bolstered by that escape, Shakib went on to become only the second player to hit six consecutive 40-plus scores in a World Cup.

Afghanistan’s spinners had Bangladesh trapped in their web and 12 overs went by without a boundary. Mushfiqur tried to turn the tide as he heaved a six to bring up his fifty off 56 balls. He eventually fell to Zadran in the penultimate over after guiding Bangladesh to a respectable score.

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