Afghanistan’s hopes of a fairytale start to the 2015 Cricket World Cup were ended by Bangladesh in Canberra yesterday, but the Afghanis were far from disgraced in their first ever World Cup appearance.
Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bat, but were unable to take advantage of the powerplay in the first 15 overs and they had just 47 runs on the board when Tamim Iqbal was dismissed in the 15th over.
The slow scoring continued in the next ten overs and their run rate was below four at the 30 over mark, but an impressive partnership between Shakin Al Hasan (63) and Mushifiqur Rahim (71) got the innings back on track and Bangladesh were eventually bowled out on the final ball of the innings of 267.
267 was considered a gettable target for Afghanistan, but their chances of recording a maiden World Cup victory quickly disappeared when they lost three wickets for just three runs in the first three overs.
Nawroz Mangal (27) and Samiullah Shenwari (42) steading the ship somewhat for Afghanistan, but the pair were both dismissed in a three over stint and despite a quick fire 44 from Mohammad Nabi the World Cup debutants were never able to get ahead of the run rate required.
Afghanistan were eventually bowled out for just 162, with Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza taking 3-20, to deliver Bangladesh the perfect start to their 2015 World Cup campaign.
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Mushifiqur Rahim was named man of the match for his effort with the bat and the promising cricketer said that Bangladesh were simply pleased to get through the tricky encounter with the two points.
“We were under the pressure as the favourites and expected to win the game but in a World Cup anyone can win any game,” Rahim said.
“Hopefully we will carry on that momentum into the next game.”
Bangladesh will face a far stiffer test when they take on Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday, but there is a chance that the game could be abandoned due to a massive amount of rain that is expected to hit the capital of Queensland in the next 48 hours.
Afghanistan will play Sri Lanka in their second World Cup game at University Oval in Dunedin on February 22 before they have an excellent chance to record their first World Cup win when they take on Scotland at the same venue four days later.
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