Stylish batting by Tamin Iqbal (36, 33 balls) and Mohammad Ashraful (47 not out, 44 balls, four fours, one six) separated Bangladesh from ICC Associate members Afghanistan in the clash of the Asian teams in the Asia versus the Caribbean Twenty/20 series, yesterday.
The accomplished pair made light work of a target of 100 in 15 overs with an opening stand of 76 which gave their side an eight-wicket victory and leadership of the round-robin series with a maximum four points.
In another rain affected first match at the Queen's Park Oval that saw the overs reduced by five, the Bangladeshis—the strongest-looking side in the tournament--controlled the game throughout, limiting Afghanistan to 99 for five in their 15.
Bangladesh completed their win with four balls to spare.
A change of day brought a change of emotion for the Afghans following their dramatic win over Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday. (See Page 52)
First night standouts Mohammad Nabi and Gulbodin Naib again had to combine to boost the scoring for Afghanistan, but in different circumstances. Sent in by Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahman after he had won the toss, the Afghan top order batsmen again struggled to put runs on the board. Stocky, aggressive opener and wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad tried to give his side momentum with an entertaining 29 from 24 balls, three of his four fours coming in the first three overs of the innings. But when he was eventually fourth out, surprisingly bowled between bat and pad by ace left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan (3-0-12-2) in the ninth over, Afghanistan were only 43 for four. Already back in the shed were Shahzad's opener partner Karim Sadiq, given out stumped off of Al Hasan, the batsman staying at the wicket an extraordinarily long time in protest; Najibullah Zadran caught at point off left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak; and skipper Nawroz Mangal, a victim of the third Bangladesh slow leftie, Elias Sunny.
Sahfiqullah Shafaq with 14 was the only batsman besides Shahzad to get into double figures before Nabi (26, 20 balls) and Naib (13, six balls) got together to post 29 as the overs ran out.
On Thursday evening, Nabi with 57 and then Naib at the end with an unbeaten 35 had brought joy to their countrymen following the action back home via the Internet when they engineered a three wicket win over Trinidad and Tobago.
But yesterday, their runs were just not enough to win this battle.
Today, Afghanistan will complete their programme against Barbados in the first match at 3.45pm. Bangladesh can make sure of victory in the round-robin series and the US$50,000 first prize if they beat hosts Trinidad and Tobago in the final match of the series.
T&T will have to do without all-rounder Kevon Cooper who was ruled out of the rest of the tournament after straining ligaments in his left ankle in the match against Afghanistan.
Bangladesh v Afghanistan
K Sadiq stpd wkpr Rahim b Al Hasan 3
M Shahzad b Al Hasan 29
N Zadran c Rahman b Razzak 3
N Mangal c Islam b Sunny 6
M Nabi not out 6
S Shafaq c Hossain b Islam 14
G Naib not out 13
EXTRAS: (LB3, W2) 5
TOTAL: (for five wickets, 15 overs) 99
Wickets at: 20 (Sadiq), 25 (Zadran), 42 (Mangal), 43 (Shahzad), 70 (Shafaq)
BOWLING: Mortaza 3-0-33-0, Razzak 3-0-16-1 (1w), Al Hasan 3-0-12-2, Sunny 3-0-8-1 (1w), Islam 3-0-27-1
T Iqbal stpd wkpr Shahzad b Nabi 36
M Ashraful not out 47
Z Rahman b Nabi 0
S Al Hasan not out 6
EXTRAS: (LB1, W8, NB2) 11
TOTAL: (for two wickets, 14.2 overs) 100
Wickets at: 76 (Iqbal), 78 (Rahman)
BOWLING: Sadiq 3-0-25-0, Nabi 3-0-11-2 (3w, 1nb), Ahmadi 1-0-5-0, D.Zadran 2-021-0 (1w), Shenwari
2- 0-18-0 (4w), Dawlatzai 3-0-18-0
Result: Bangladesh won by eight wickets
Bangladesh 2 pts, Afghanistan 0