Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Oct 7: Chasing a modest victory target of 157, Bangladesh won by 6 wickets in just 34.4 overs against Afghanistan, here in their first match of the 2023 ODI World Cup on Saturday.
Bangladesh all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz was the star of his side's convincing victory. He scalped 3 Afghanistan wickets and returned with a superb 57-run show with the willow.
But the match was really grabbed by Bangladesh not much with the bat, but with their superb skills of spin bowling and fielding.
Afghanistan could only blame themselves for the unexpected batting collapse. They were down from 83/1 in 15 overs to 156 all out in 37.2 overs.
Earlier, as expected, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan elected to field first in the bowling friendly conditions of Dharamsala. However, Afghanistan began well and looked set for a good score.
At one time, Afghanistan were comfortably placed with 83 runs on board with loss one wicket in 15 overs.
During that phase, with Afghanistan looked compact and determined for a respectable total. Bangladesh supporters might have thought their skipper Shakib misread the pitch and could have opted to bat first.
But then the magic of spinners duo Mehidy Hasan Miraz and captain Shakib himself pushed Afghanistan back. Once the top three were removed, Afghanistan innings fell like a house of cards. Mehidy and Shakib shared 3 wickets each.
For Afghanistan, opener and seasoned wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz top scored with 47. His opening partner Ibrahim Zardan (22), Rahmat Shah (18), Afghan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (18) and Azmatullah Omarzai (22) though got starts, but could not continue for long.
Two Afghanistan batters were dismissed without opening their accounts, while only five batsmen managed double-digit scores. Once Afghanistan struggled, Shakib's boys doubled their enthusiasm in the field and did not allow Afghans to tee off again.
For Bangladesh, Mehidy Hasan Miraz (57) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (59*) ensured that their side does not commit the same mistakes Afghanistan batters did.
Mehidy with an impressive bowling figure of 3/25 and 57-run show with the bat, proved once again why he enjoys his team management's confidence as a dependable all-rounder.
He was the obvious 'Player of the Match' of the low-scoring contest between the two familiar Asian sides.
Afghanistan: 156/10 in 37.2 overs; Bangladesh: 158/4 in 34.4 overs.
Bangladesh won by 6 wickets.
Player of the Match: Mehidy Hasan Miraz.