Mushfiqur Rahim’s fighting 83 off 87 balls allowed Bangladesh to post a competitive 262 for seven against Afghanistan in their World Cup clash here on Monday. The wicketkeeper-batsman held the innings together and his 61-run partnership with Shakib Al Hasan (51 off 69 balls) laid the foundation for a decent score on what seemed a difficult surface to bat on. Mosaddek Hossain (35 off 24) provided the much-needed fireworks in the death overs, taking the total past 250. The stand-out bowler for Afghanistan was spinner Mujeeb Ur-Rahman (3/39), troubling the batsmen with his variations. Afghanistan, who had played a tense game against India here on Saturday, opted to field at the Hampshire Bowl.
Liton Das (16) was promoted to open the innings alongside Tamim Iqbal (36) with Somya Sarkar pushed down the order. Das could not make the opportunity count and was caught at cover off Mujeeb. Iqbal and star all-rounder Shakib then shared a 59-run stand before Mohammad Nabi hit the former’s stumps, leaving Bangladesh at 82 for two in 17 overs. Stroke-making was not easy as it was seen in the game involving India on Saturday.
Shakib, who surpassed David Warner to become the tournament’s leading run-getter, made another valuable contribution — a gritty 51 off 69 balls — including just one four. The world’s premier all-rounder has so far scored two hundreds and three half-centuries in the competition. Rahim, who too has been in sublime form like Shakib, played another valuable knock for his team. Had he not fired, Bangladesh would have struggled to go beyond 225. His innings comprised four boundaries and a six.
While Afghanistan are out of the semifinal race, Bangladesh have an outside chance to qualify.