Bangladesh batters Towhid Hridoy and Shamim Hossain came of age as they helped to guide Bangladesh to a tight two-wicket win over Afghanistan in the first T20I of the two-match series at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
The duo stitched a 73-run stand while chasing 154, with Hridoy remaining unbeaten on 47 off 32 balls to take Bangladesh to victory, while Shamim’s 25-ball 33 provided ample support through the latter stage of the successful chase.
Bangladesh’s reply got off to a shaky start as opener Rony Talukdar departed in the very first over of the innings. Rony, who scored a five-ball four, managed to hit one boundary in the fourth ball of the first over but was castled in the final delivery of pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi’s opening over as the right-handed batter failed to fend off a regulation delivery to leave the Tigers one down for five runs after the first over.
Number three, Najmul Hossain Shanto yet again failed to make an impact as he fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The left-handed batter, after having gotten a start, could blame his luck as the ball deflected off his upper body onto the stumps as he attempted to sweep. He scored a 12-ball 14.
The Tigers had managed 37 for the loss of two following the end of the first six overs but were pegged back soon after as they lost Liton Das straight after the Powerplay leaving the Tigers three down.
Liton, after scoring a 19-ball 18, came down the wicket and tried to take on a short one from pacer Azmatullah Omarzai but the batter mistimed the shot as the ball got big on him which resulted in a top-edge that landed straight into the hands of Rashid Khan at short mid-wicket.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan failed to capitalise on his start as he departed for a 17-ball 19 to leave Tigers four down for 64. Shakib slashed a short and wide delivery by pacer Fareed Ahmad straight to deep-point in the 11th over. The dismissal came straight after the drinks break.
But the 73-run stand between Hridoy and Shamim for the fifth wicket helped to take the Tigers to the brink of victory. However, the latter tried to take on Rashid Khan in the 18th over and could only manage to sky it which led to his demise.
With only five runs to get in the final over, Bangladesh almost made a meal of the situation as they lost three wickets in three balls to give pacer Karim Janat a hattrick, with Hridoy stuck at the non-striker’s end.
But Shoriful Islam held his nerve and smacked a short and wide one through point to ensure the victory for Bangladesh.