Mushfiqur Rahim Shakib Al Hasan Bangladesh
Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan sparkled with the bat for Bangladesh to help their side to victory over Afghanistan in their Cricket World Cup 2015 matchReuters

Afghanistan's dream of starting their World Cup journey with a win came to an abrupt halt, with Bangladesh getting a measure of revenge in emphatic fashion in their Pool A match in Canberra on Wednesday.

The Afghans were tipped to give Bangladesh a real old scare and maybe even pull off an upset on their World Cup debut, but after making a bright start with the ball early on, the experience and class of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim brought Bangladesh firmly back into the game, before their bowlers ended the match as a contest with strikes up front.

Batting first, Bangladesh, after losing four quick wickets, posted 267 all out in 50 overs, thanks largely to brilliant counter-punching half-centuries from Shakib (63, 51b, 6x4, 1x6) and Mushfiqur (71, 56b, 6x4, 1x6).

In reply, Afghanistan were down and out after just three overs, with the debutants eventually bowled out for 162 in 42.5 overs as Bangladesh, with the big 105-run win, avenged their Asia Cup loss from last year.

Afghanistan would have come out in the chase expecting to put up a fight and maybe even going on to create another upset, but Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain put paid to those hopes emphatically in the first couple of overs.

The skipper Mashrafe first sent Javed Ahmadi packing with a ball that just held up a little and took the leading edge back to him, before Rubel, a ball later, had Afsar Zazai out lbw – a marginal call, but a call that would have stayed on review.

The hope was as good as over for Afghanistan, when Mashrafe picked up his second wicket in the last ball of the third over, with Asghar Stanikzai edging one to Mahmudullah, who just about hung on in the slips.

At 3/3, the result in favour of Bangladesh was a matter of only when, and even if Nawroz Mangal (27, 57b, 1x4), Samiullah Shenwari (42, 75b, 2x4) and Mohammad Nabi (44, 43b, 5x4) put on a bit of a fight, it was never going to be enough.

Earlier, Bangladesh needed a major rescue act from Shakib and Mushfiqur to avoid embarrassment after Afghanistan's potent bowling lineup had scythed through the top order.

Choosing to bat first, Bangladesh would have envisaged a big score, in excess of 300 as has been the norm at this World Cup, but what the openers faced was a disciplined, quality pace attack up front, a pace attack which gave away very little.

Only 38 runs came from first 10 Powerplay overs, and it did not get much better either for Bangladesh, as Afghanistan, who should have had Tamim Iqbal (19, 42b, 2x4) out early had they chosen to review, finally got the breakthrough with the left-hander edging one off Mirwais Ashraf which wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai did brilliantly to hold on to diving to his left.

Tamim's opening partner Anamul Haque joined his teammates in the dressing room soon after, with Ashraf getting amongst the wickets again, this time an lbw decision going his way.

Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah then tried to put Bangladesh back on track with a 50-run partnership, but once those two fell to the impressive Shapoor Zadran, it was back to revival-mode again for Bangladesh.

With two of their most experienced batsmen – Shakib and Mushfiqur, coming in a little too deep down the order – Bangladesh still would have hoped for a decent total, but the duo went one better by counter-attacking in some style.

Mushfiqur, first, set the tone with a flurry of boundaries and Shakib joined in soon after, and just like that Bangladesh were on course for a total near 300 – if the two stayed until the end.

That did not quite happen even if the 114-run partnership in 15.3 overs completely changed the course of the game, and indeed the innings.

Once Shakib fell in the 45th over, the momentum quelled just a touch, but not enough to stop Bangladesh from posting a winning total.

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