Afghanistan registered a heart-racing one-run victory in the third and final Twenty20 International against Bangladesh, to seal the three-match series 3-0. For the first time, Afghanistan was made to earn their victory. Man of the moment Rashid Khan as always exceptional yet again managed to defend just nine runs in the final over.
It was a brilliant piece of bowling by the No. 1 bowler in the shortest format. Rightfully, he was handed over the Player of the Series trophy after the conclusion of the match.
It was Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai, who won the toss for the very first time in the series and opted to bat. Openers Mohammad Shehzad and Usman Ghani got Afghanistan off to a steady start with a 55-run partnership.
Shehzad scored a well composed 26 of 22 deliveries while Ghani made 19. However, both fell in quick succession which pegged the hosts back.
Skipper Asghar Stanikzai looked in good touch during his brief stay. He scored a quickfire 27 off just 17 deliveries which was studded with three hits over the fence.
Samiuallah Shenwari also chipped in with a useful innings of 33. However, the Bangladesh bowlers bowled tightly in the middle overs which never really allowed Bangladesh to press on the accelerator.
Eventually, they managed to score just 145 runs in their allotted 20 overs.
Nazmul Islam was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers, bagging a couple. Bangladesh needed to get off to a steady start but it was just the opposite. They ended up losing their first three wickets for just 35 runs.
It was mystery spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who bagged the wicket of senior campaigner Tamim Iqbal. On the other end, the wickets of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar fell in the form of run outs.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan was also dismissed pretty cheaply as Bangladesh were reduced to 52 for four.
From there on, it was a solid partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad which got Bangladesh back on track. The duo played some delightful shots and took the match to the wire.
However Rashid’s final over proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Bangladesh as they failed to score a single boundary of the final over. Mushfiqur made a resilient 46 while Mahmudullah chipped in with 45.
Here is what the Player of the series Rashid Khan said at the post-match presentation ceremony:
“Quite happy with the performance, and the best part is that we won. I’m focused on looking at the positives, and thankfully it worked out for me. The ball was gripping a little, and if I bowled in the good length area, it was turning quite a bit,” Rashid said.
“I just try to bowl googlies and leg-breaks and enjoy the game, and enjoy every ball I bowl. In the last one year, I have tried to stay fit, and improve upon my fitness, which has changed everything. I have managed to contribute in the field, with ball and bat. Thanks to the crowd for coming out here and supporting us,” Rashid added on.