Bangladesh Defeats Afghanistan in ODI World Cup Kickoff; Shakib and Miraz Shine.

by: Atika Mehboob TN Sports Pakistan:
Bangladesh started their 2023 ODI World Cup with a convincing six-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Dharamsala, thanks to Shakib Al Hasan’s three-wicket haul and an all-round performance by Mehidy Hasan Miraz. This marked Afghanistan’s 13th consecutive World Cup loss, a record dating back to 2015.

Having been put to bat first, Afghanistan began solidly. However, the tide shifted when Shakib dismissed Ibrahim Zadran and Rahmat Shah, causing Afghanistan to plummet from 83 for 1 to 156 all out.

In response, Mehidy, having earlier helped with the Afghan collapse by taking three wickets, delivered with the bat, scoring a fortunate half-century from No. 3. Alongside him, Najmul Hossain Shanto showcased his form with an unbeaten 59, enabling Bangladesh to seal the match with over 15 overs left.

The beautiful Dharamsala, renowned for its scenic beauty, presented a challenging sand-based outfield. Fielders found it hard to slide, and fast bowlers raised dust as they approached the crease. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.

In the morning session, after winning the toss, Shakib chose to bowl. Despite the new ball showing some movement, the Bangladeshi bowlers soon shifted to shorter deliveries and occasionally lost their line. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim capitalized on these errors, with boundaries flowing from the second to the eighth over.

Shakib halted the momentum, dismissing Ibrahim who misjudged a sweep shot. Shortly after, Rahmat followed suit with a catch near short extra cover. This double blow slowed Afghanistan’s run rate considerably. Captain Hashmatullah Shahidi found it especially hard to score against Mehidy. His attempts to accelerate resulted in him getting caught at mid-on.

Meanwhile, Gurbaz achieved a personal milestone by becoming the fastest Afghan player to hit 1000 ODI runs in just 27 innings. However, his acceleration attempts were thwarted by Mustafizur Rehman. 

Afghanistan’s tail couldn’t wag for long. After setting a modest target of 156, their bowlers started erratically. Bangladesh did face an early hiccup at 27 for 2, but Afghanistan’s sloppy fielding allowed Miraz two lives. This proved costly as he and Shanto built a match-winning partnership.

Miraz’s half-century came off just 58 balls, setting the stage for Shanto to achieve his fifty as well. The game ended with Bangladesh comfortably sealing the victory.