Afghanistan came up with another clinical effort to thump Shakib Al Hasan-led Bangladesh by seven wickets in Sharjah in match number three of the Asia Cup 2022 on Tuesday (August 30). Bangladesh, rather surprisingly, decided to bat first after winning the toss.
Speaking of his decision, Shakib explained that “putting the runs on the board will hopefully be difficult for Afghanistan to chase”. Bangladesh, however, could not put enough runs on the board as they struggled against the spin duo of Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3/16) and Rashid Khan (3/22). All they managed was 127 for 7 in their 20 overs, which could have been worse but for Mosaddek Hossain’s valiant 48*.
Afghanistan needed only 18.3 overs to chase down the target. Bangladesh did reduce the opposition to 62 for 3. However, Najibullah Zadran (43* off 17) and Ibrahim Zadran (42* off 41) played contrasting knocks to lift Afghanistan to an emphatic victory.
Following the heavy defeat, Twitterati blasted Shakib, who was featuring in his 100th T20I. Cricket fans questioned the Bangladesh’s skipper decision to bat first and also his ploy to hold back Hossain, although the game was slipping away.
Some also felt that Shakib (1/13) completed his own bowling spell way too soon. Here are some reactions on Twitter to the Bangladesh all-rounder’s poor performance as leader:
“Always tough when you lose four wickets in first 7-8 overs” – Shakib Al Hasan
Reacting to the defeat, the Bangladesh captain rued the early loss of wickets. Bangladesh were 53 for 5 in the 11th over, which pretty much sealed their fate in the contest. Speaking at the post-match conference, Shakib said:
“It is always tough when you lose four wickets in the first 7-8 overs. We were in the game for the first 14-15 overs. Credit to Afghanistan. In a T20 game, whoever is standing up for the team should it take it till the end. Mosaddek played well but we needed more contributions.”
Sharing his thoughts on Afghanistan’s chase, he added that Bangladesh were in with a chance until Najibullah snatched the game away. He added:
“We knew Najibullah is a dangerous batsman. We thought we had the game when they needed 60 odd in the last 6 overs. But credit to Najibullah.”
Najibullah smashed six sixes in his 17-ball knock to stun Bangladesh. The explosive batter added an unbroken 69 in just 5.3 overs with Ibrahim.