2nd ODI: Bangladesh take unassailable 2-0 series lead against Afghanistan, top Super League table

Chattogram, Feb 25 (IANS) Bangladesh put up an all-round performance to thrash Afghanistan by 88 runs in the second ODI to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series and capture the top spot in the 2020-23 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, here on Friday.
This was Bangladesh’s 10th win out of 14 in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League out and it took their point tally to 100 with a net run rate of 0.422. They go past England, who currently occupy the second spot with 95 points. They also became the first team to breach the 100-point mark in the CWCSL.
As the top seven teams (apart from India as hosts) are set to get a direct qualification to the 2023 Men’s Cricket World Cup, the victory will be of significance in Bangladesh’s pursuit of automatic qualification.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, Bangladesh began cautiously with the opening pair putting up 38 before Tamim Iqbal (12) was trapped in front by Fazalhaq Farooqi in the seventh over.
Shakib Al Hasan then joined Liton Das in the middle and helped the hosts lay a proper foundation as the duo added 45 runs for the second wicket. Their fledgling partnership was broken in the 16th over with Rashid Khan removing Shakib for 20.
Thereafter, Liton and Mushfiqur took control of the situation, first playing steadily and building on runs and then hitting with some superb boundaries. They took Bangladesh’s score past 100, and never looked back thereafter, putting the Afghan bowlers under pressure as they both brought up half-centuries.
Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi lost a chance to make inroads when he dropped Liton on 87 in the 38th over off Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Three overs later, Liton brought up a fantastic hundred, his fifth in ODIs and first against Afghanistan.
He soon upped the ante, hitting Mujeeb for four in the next over, and then smashing a four and six off Farooqi two overs later. Mushfiqur too continued to plunder runs and also got a reprieve when he survived a stumping chance on 69 in the 42nd over.
The massive 202-run stand was finally broken in the 47th over when Fareed Ahmad first dismissed Liton (136), who picked out the deep mid-wicket fielder by miscuing a pull. Ahmad then dismissed Mushfiqur on the next ball, having him caught at third man. With a few big heaves, Mahmud Ullah and Afif Hossain boosted the total to 306/4.
In reply, Shoriful Islam gave Bangladesh the breakthroughs, removing opener Riaz Hassan in the second over and then dismissing Shahidi two overs later to leave Afghanistan reeling at 16/2.
Rahmat Shah and Azmatullah Omarzai were only able to add 18 more runs before Shakib got Omarzai stumped. Rahmat and Najibullah Zadran then embarked on a fruitful partnership, expertly negotiating the Bangladesh bowlers. Najibullah survived a couple of close calls but little fazed the duo.
The 89-run stand was eventually broken by Taskin Ahmed as he flicked Rahmat’s off-stump for 52. Najibullah, who soon got his fifty as well, could not hold on for long and perished soon after for 54. Shakib then snared Rahmanullah Gurbaz (7) three overs later.
At 151/6, Afghanistan looked in all sorts of trouble, but with plenty of overs in hand and Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan at the crease, Bangladesh still had a lot of work to do. For a while, both Nabi and Rashid looked solid in the middle but the former lost his wicket trying to go big off Mehidy Hasan.
The pressure kept building. Rashid fell too, after hitting Mustafizur for a six and a four, getting bowled after failing to read the change of pace. Thereafter, it did not take long for the hosts to wrap up the Afghanistan innings, bowling them out for 218 in the 46th over and securing a brilliant 88-run win.
The third and final ODI will be played on February 28 and offers Bangladesh a chance to consolidate their position at the top of the CWCSL table.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 306/4 in 50 overs (Liton Das 136, Mushfiqur Rahim 86; Fareed Ahmad 2-56) beat Afghanistan 218 in 45.1 overs (Najibullah Zadran 54; Taskin Ahmed 2-31) by 88 runs

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