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Asia Cup

Bangladesh into the Super Fours after bashing Afghans



Photo: Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz celebrate, AFP

|| CF DESK ||

Bangladesh beat Afghanistan 89 runs in their second and final Asia Cup group-stage match in Lahore on Sunday and secure a spot in the Super Fours of Asia Cup 2023.

Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto both hit centuries to set the stage in their do-or-die match.

Taskin Ahmed (4-44), Shoriful Islam (3-36), and Hasan Mahmud (1-61) all grabbed wickets at regular intervals to assist Afghanistan dismissed for 245 after the Tigers had reached 334 for five. 

Set to chase their highest target in ODIs, Afghanistan got off to a disastrous start with Shoriful trapping the dangerous Rahmanullah Gurbaz leg-before in the second over for one.

Ibrahim Zadran, who top-scored with 75, added 78 for the second wicket with Rahmat Shah (33) and another 52 for the third with Hashmatullah Shahidi (51) but failed to keep up the momentum.

Mahmud ended Zadran's 74-ball knock with a brilliant diving catch by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim to hit Afghanistan hard. He hit ten boundaries and a six.

Shahidi and Najibullah Zadran (17) added 62 for the fourth wicket to keep Afghanistan in the hunt but they fell in quick succession.

With 123 needed off the last ten overs, Rashid Khan hit a 15-ball 24 but that was too little, too late.

Earlier, Miraz, who was pushed to the top-order as a makeshift opener, made 112 off 119 not out, which is his second ODI ton. He hit seven boundaries and three maximums before retiring hurt.

Shanto also grabbed his second century and made 194 runs partnership with Miraz in third wicket, got run out after scoring 104 runs. Last game against Sri Lanka he made 89, which now made him the highest run-getter in the running Asia Cup.

Shanto hit nine boundaries and two sixes before he was run out in the 45th over as Bangladesh piled up 103 runs in the last ten overs.

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan carried on the good work with an 18-ball 32 not out that was spiced with four boundaries and a six.

Afghanistan's much-vaunted spin trio failed to stop the flow of runs with only Mujeeb Ur Rahman getting one wicket while Rashid Khan's wicket-less 10 overs cost 66 runs.

Afghanistan will now face Sri Lanka, who defeated Bangladesh in their opening game on Tuesday in Lahore, to decide who advances to the next round.

If Sri Lanka lose tomorrow against Afghanistan by a small margin they may remain above Bangladesh but Afghanistan can't go above Bangladesh. If Afghanistan win heavy to qualify, they may end up going above Bangladesh's NRR but they will impact Sri Lanka's NRR so heavily that it will go below Bangladesh's.

Basically, there is no scenario where both Afghanistan and host Sri Lanka can end on a high NRR than Bangladesh.

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stage.