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Asia Cup 2022: Najibullah Zadran’s heroics helps Afghanistan seal a berth in the Super Four

BAN vs AFG Match Report | Afghanistan seal a berth
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Afghanistan seal a berth: Bangladesh locked horns against Afghanistan in the third match of the Asia Cup 2022. The Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah hosted this exciting contest. Afghanistan beat Bangladesh to seal a berth in the super four of the competition.

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and opted to bat first. The decision backfired as their top-order was blown away by Mujeeb Ur Rahman. They reeled at 28/3 at the end of the powerplay. They lost another one in the next over.

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Experienced campaigner Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain led the recovery work. Mahmudullah departed on 25 in the 16th over. Mosaddek looked solid and played a very good hand of 48* off just 31 balls to take his side to a respectable total. Mujeeb and Rashid Khan for Afghanistan picked up three wickets apiece as they restricted Bangladesh to 127/7 at the end of their 20 overs.

The Afghan side had a steady start to the chase as they scored 29 at the end of the powerplay for the loss of one wicket. Bangladesh’s spinners pulled back things in the middle overs and as a result, the required run rate creeped up. They were struggling at 62/3 at the end of 13 overs.

With the required run rate just above nine, Najibullah Zadran walked in to bat and changed the whole complexion of the match. He hit some fantastic strokes and remained unbeaten on 43 off just 17 balls to guide his side across the line. He hit six maximums in his innings. Ibrahim Zadran supported him nicely from the other end as they chased down the total with nine balls to spare to win the game by seven wickets.

Afghanistan book a berth in the Super Four of the Asia Cup 2022

The Afghan bowlers did a fine job to restrict Bangladesh to 127 before sensational hitting from Najibullah Zadran helped them chase down the total in the penultimate over to qualify for the Super Four. They will now look to keep performing in a similar fashion in the upcoming games.

Bangladesh now have lost their opening game of the Asia Cup 2022. They will now face Sri Lanka in their next fixture which will be a knockout fixture as the loser of this contest will go home. They will have to put in a much-improved performance against the Lankan side.

Player of the Match

Mujeeb Ur Rahman was adjudged the player of the match for his bowling figures of 3/16 in his four overs.

I would congratulate my team and the entire nation. My strength is to bowl with the new ball. I have played before in Sharjah. All my plan was to bowl wicket to wicket and that worked for me.

Score Summary

Bangladesh: 127/7 (20)

(Mosaddek Hossain 48*, Mahmudullah 25, Mujeeb Ur Rahman 3/16)

Afghanistan: 131/3 (18.3)

(Najibullah Zadran 43*, Ibrahim Zadran 42*, Shakib Al Hasan 1/13)

Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by seven wickets.

Losing Captain, Shakib Al Hasan:

It is always tough when you lose four wickets in the first 7-8 overs. We were in the game for the first 14-15 overs. Credit to Afghanistan. In a T20 game, whoever is standing up for the team should take it till the end. Mosaddek played well but we needed more contributions. We knew Najibullah is a dangerous batsman. We thought we had the game when they needed 60-odd in the last six overs. But credit to Najibullah.

Winning Captain, Mohammad Nabi:

Everyone knows both Mujeeb and Rashid are world-class bowlers. They again showed their talent and ability. We plan to take early wickets to be ahead in the game. Everyone knows that we have power-hitters in our team. We finished the game really well. Gurbaz tried a lot but couldn’t hit them well. Shakib bowled brilliantly.

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