Bangladesh needed to bring all their experience and count on lady luck to avoid a defeat against Afghanistan in the first one-day international. The Bangla Tigers will now target a much more assured performance when the 2nd ODI takes centre-stage in Dhaka.
While a lot of work remains to be done in the Test match format, when it comes to limited-overs cricket, Bangladesh are a team capable of beating any side in the world, on their day. However, against Afghanistan, who seem to be improving with every game, it looked like Bangladesh would be the ones at the receiving end of an upset, before Shakib al Hasan showed why he is such a great all-rounder by bowling under pressure with tremendous efficiency.
Had the Afghanistan team been more experienced, in terms of big match play and handling the pressure situations against stronger opposition, they would have been the ones to take a 1-0 lead in the series, but thanks to their world-class all-rounder, Bangladesh eventually came away with a seven-run win.
Choosing to bat first at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur after winning the toss, Bangladesh ended up posting 265, with Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Shakib and Mahmudullah contributing with the bat.
The Afghanistan reply was strong, and with 10 over remaining in the match, they looked certain to win, with only 76 runs needed and seven wickets still in hand. However, Shakib's wicket of Rahmat Shah turned the fortunes around with the left-arm orthodox then bowling a couple of really tidy overs to take Bangladesh over the line.
Maybe it was a bit of rust – Bangladesh have not played competitive international cricket since the World T20, with two of their fast bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain looking short of match fitness – maybe it was a bit of complacency, but Bangladesh will know they cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball in the second ODI, or this three-match series could end up going to the decider.
Bangladesh vs Afghanistan 2nd ODI:
Date: Wednesday, September 28.
Time: 2.30pm local time (2pm IST, 9.30am BST).
Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka.
TV listings: India: No live coverage. Bangladesh: GTV and BTV. USA: Willow TV. Middle East and North Africa: OSN Cricket.