Bangladesh beat World Cup first- timers Afghanistan

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

AFGHANISTAN’S first Cricket World Cup match ended in de­feat yes­ter­day when Bangladesh took three wickets in the first three overs on the way to beat­ing the fledg­ling side by 105 runs.

Afghanistan thrilled thou­sands of flag- wav­ing ex­pa­tri­ates at Manuka Oval ear­lier in the day by mak­ing a promis­ing start to their de­but match in the 50- over tour­na­ment.

They picked up four early wickets and then ral­lied af­ter Shakib Al Hasan and Mush­fiqur Rahim com­bined for a 114- run part­ner­ship to bowl Bangladesh, who won the toss, out for 267.

But Afghanistan were never in the match in re­ply, fail­ing to hit their first bound­ary un­til the 10th over and re­quir­ing an un­likely nine runs per over with 15 overs to go. They were all out for 162 runs in 42.5 overs.

Afghanistan cap­tain Mo­ham­mad Nabi, who spent time in a Pak­istan refugee camp, top- scored with 44 runs be­fore be­ing re­moved by fel­low skip­per Mashrafe Mor­taza, the Bangladesh bowler’s third wicket of the night.

The play of the match came when Bangladesh’s Rubel Hos­sain made an out­stand­ing catch at the long- bound­ary to dis­miss Nawroz Man­gal for 27.

Ear­lier, fast bowler Mir­wais Ashraf took Afghanistan’s first World Cup wicket, hav­ing Tamim Iqbal ( 19) ac­ro­bat­i­cally caught by wick­et­keeper Af­sar Zazai to end a 47- run open­ing stand.

Bangladesh slipped to 52- 2 when Ashraf struck again, trap­ping Ana­mul Haque ( 29) lbw, and to 119- 4 in the 30th af­ter Shapoor Zad­ran ( 2- 20) re­moved Soumya Sarkar ( 28) and Mah­mudul­lah ( 23).

Vet­er­ans Mush­fiqur ( 71) and Shakib ( 63) re­stored the innings for Bangladesh be­fore both were dis­missed in a late col­lapse, with Afghanistan tak­ing three wickets in the last seven balls.

Bangladesh, who have been play­ing at the World Cup since 1999, were un­der in­tense pres­sure en­ter­ing the match as the es­tab­lished team in cricket’s elite against a team that started al­most from scratch in the last two decades.

Afghanistan, 12th in the ICC rank­ings and win­ning their only pre­vi­ous One- Day In­ter­na­tional against Bangladesh at the Asian Cup last year, showed nerves and in­ex­pe­ri­ence when they failed to re­fer at least two ques­tion­able um­pir­ing de­ci­sions to the third um­pire and gave away too many runs for over­throws from ba­sic field­ing er­rors.

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