It was nothing sort of manic last over as Bangladesh hosted Afghanistan for the first T20I in Sylhet on Friday. Afghanistan had won the ODI series and the hosts needed a good start in the T20I competition. It was, however, not easy. Afghanistan’s Karim Janat grabbed a hat-trick in the final over but Bangladesh held their nerve to sneak a two-wicket win with just a ball to spare in the first T20 international in Sylhet on Friday. The hosts seemed to be cruising towards victory in the first encounter of the two-match series after Towhid Hridoy and Shamim Hossain put on 73 runs for the fifth wicket in reply to Afghanistan’s 154-7. Then drama erupted at the Sylhet International Stadium.
Rashid Khan removed Shamim for 33 to break the partnership, but Bangladesh were still favourites needing only six runs from the final over.
Shoriful Islam came in at number 10 to strike a powerful shot that raced to boundary, earning Bangladesh a dramatic win. Hridoy remained unbeaten on 47 at the non-striker’s end as Janat finished with 3-15.
This over had more drama than a daily soap pic.twitter.com/jxM2zt1CfP
— FanCode (@FanCode) July 14, 2023
“We had the belief, all our tail-enders can bat. It was Shoriful’s turn today but Miraz could have finished it,” said Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Rashid, the Afghanistan captain, lamented his side’s inability to defend their total. “With the bowling unit we have, that total was enough but in T20 one innings can take away the game from you,” he said.
The visitors struggled at the start of their innings, losing their first four wickets for 52 runs after Shakib won the toss and elected to bowl. But Mohammad Nabi scored an unbeaten 54 from 40 balls to give Afghanistan a competitive score.
He hit the first ball he faced for four to signal his intent and kept the scoreboard ticking over, with the occasional boundary. Najibullah Zadran provided him brief support with a run-a-ball 23 before falling to Mehidy, while Azmatullah Omarzai hit four sixes to score 33 off 18 deliveries, ensuring Afghanistan never lost their way completely.
Shakib was the hosts’ most successful bowler with 2-27. Similarly Bangladesh were reduced to 64-4 as Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Omarzai and Fareed Ahmed each claimed a wicket before Hridoy and Shamim mounted the comeback.
The second match of the series will be held at the same ground on Sunday.
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