Rashid Khan picked four-for against Bangladesh. (Source: AP)
Rashid Khan continued his imperious form in the shortest format of the game by picking up four wickets and helping Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in the second T20I on Tuesday. Afghanistan’s second consecutive triumph also earned them a 2-0 unassailable lead in their first home series. In a clinical bowling performance, the 19-year-old leg-spinner bamboozled the batsmen at will and returned with figures of 4/12 to single-handedly restrict the Tigers to 134/8 in 20 overs. In reply, the hosts cantered home with six wickets in hand. Teammate and fellow colleague from Sunrisers Hyderabad- Mohammad Nabi also scalped a couple of wickets before a 31 run cameo rounded off a complete performance by the hosts.
Earlier, on a pleasant evening in Dehradun, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and opted to bat on a surface which seemed on the slower side. Opener Liton Das and middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman departed within the first five overs, after which seasoned campaigners- Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal forged a 45-run stand. However, the untimely departure of Rahim put the visitors on the backfoot. However, it was Rashid Khan’s triple strike in the 16th which completely changed the complexion of the match and dashed Bangladesh’s hopes of reaching 150. Abu Hider Rony’s 21 off 14 balls ensured that they the bowlers have a meaningful score to defend.
Low scoring matches have always ended in a nailbiting finish. In a reminiscence of such similar encounters in the IPL, this one too went down to the wire as Afghanistan’s top order batsmen took time to settle in and get going. While Samiullah Shenwari’s 49 of 41 did see him hold the fort at one end, Usman Ghani’s 21 off 31 balls and skipper Asghar Stanikzai 4 runs off 8 deliveries did more harm than good as the required run-rate almost touched 9. Just when it seemed that the matcAfghanistan vs Bangladesh, 2nd T20Ih was slipping away from the grasp of the Afghan’s- out walked Mohammad Nabi in the 18th over and bludgeoned a quickfire 31 featuring three fours and two huge sixes to seal the victory.
The 8000-odd spectators who had thronged to the stadium had got their money’s worth as world’s number one T20 bowler put up a brilliant exhibition of leg-spin bowling. After a convincing win on Tuesday, Afghanistan will be looking for yet another professional performance to end the series with a clean sweep.
- Rashid Khan