Innings Bangladesh 249 for 7 (Mahmudullah 74, Kayes 72*, Aftab 3-54) v Afghanistan
Mahmudullah and Imrul Kayes struck fifties to give Bangladesh a competitive 249-run total to defend, after they had slipped to 87 for 5 at one stage. Their 128-run stand was a Bangladesh record for the sixth wicket, despite Kayes – one of two reinforcements who flew in to Dubai on Friday evening – batting at No. 6 for the first time in his international career.
Mahmudullah made 74 off 81 with three fours and two sixes while Kayes struck six fours in his unbeaten 72. Afghanistan were given a stiff target for their first chase of the tournament, although the Bangladesh total could have been lower had they been as disciplined through the end of the innings as they had been at the start.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto did himself no favours after a third consecutive failure, and for the third time in a row it was an unnecessarily aggressive shot. He skied Aftab Alam to be easily caught at point, in the fifth over. Failure continued to follow Mohammad Mithun too, who was promoted to No. 3, when he was trapped lbw by a Mujeeb Ur Rahman delivery that came in sharply.
Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim, who was dropped at slip on 9, then added 63 runs for the third wicket, with both batsmen looking increasingly confident with every over. Bangladesh had moved to 81 for 2 after Liton lifted Rashid Khan over cover for his third four but then three strange moments put Bangladesh in a lot of trouble.
A needless sweep, following his great shot, stopped Liton on 41 off 43 balls, easily caught by Ihsanullah walking a few steps to his right at slip. Trying to get off the mark off his second ball, in the same Rashid over, Shakib hared out of his crease only to be sent back halfway by Mushfiqur. Shakib slipped while Samiullah Shenwari’s direct hit left him a long way out. Mushfiqur was then run out in Rashid’s following over after a mix-up with Kayes, although Rashid’s breaking of the stumps at the non-striker’s end wasn’t clear at first and it took several replays to ascertain that his arm had hit the stumps first as he was falling over.
Three wickets lost in the space of 14 balls turned Bangladesh’s first recovery upside down and they were reeling at 87 for 5 in the 21st over. But calmer heads prevailed as Mahmudullah converted a start for the first time in the Asia Cup, alongside Kayes who was playing his first ODI in 11 months.
They only struck two boundaries for 10 overs till the 31st over when Bangladesh’s run rate was slightly above four an over. For the next ten overs, they continued to rely mostly on singles and doubles, hitting only two more fours, before Mahmudullah went after Rashid twice in two overs, with slog-sweeps over deep midwicket.
Kayes struck just three fours off 80 balls until Mahmudullah fell in the 47th over, before hammering a pull off Aftab and reverse sweeping Rashid, who had a lacklustre day by his standards. In fact, none of Afghanistan’s spinners proved as penetrative as they would have liked. Kayes finished the innings with a carved four off the last ball.