Abu Dhabi: Bangladesh edged out Afghanistan by three runs in a thriller at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium to keep alive their hopes of reaching the final of the Asia Cup.
Bangladesh now meet Pakistan in a virtual semi-final in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, with the winners booking a showdown with India on September 28.
The Tigers, who had lost the opening Super 4 encounter against India by seven wickets, bounced back to defend their score of 249 for 7 despite a spirited assault by the Afghans.
The Afghans needed 81 from their final 10 overs, and blistering knocks from Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari almost took their team across the line. Nabi (38 off 28), however, fell in the penultimate over with Afghans still 12 short of their target. They started the final over needing eight, but Bangladesh death-over specialist Mustafizur Rahman managed to deny them.
Afghanistan stuttered initially losing Ihsanullah and Rahmat Shah early with just 26 on board. However, the aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad compiled a sedate 53 to take their score to 89 before losing his stumps to Mahmudullah as he backed away to give himself room.
Hashmatullah Shahidi (71) and skipper Asghar Afghan (39) then kept the Afghans in the hunt, adding 78 runs for the fourth wicket. However, the Bangladesh bowlers kept the run-rate in check. At the end of 40 overs Afghanistan had only 169 on the board.
Earlier, Bangladesh riding on knocks from Imrul Kayes (72 not out off 89 balls) and Mahmudullah (74 off 81), recovered from 87 for five to post 249 for seven in 50 overs. The duo put on a Bangladesh-record partnership of 128 runs for the sixth wicket.
Bangladesh were in trouble straightaway after electing to bat first, losing two quick wickets of Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Mohammad Mithun with just 18 onboard.
Liton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim resurrected the innings with knocks of 41 and 33 respectively, but once they departed Bangladesh looked to be in trouble. But thanks to half-centuries from Mahmudullah and Kayes, Bangladesh were able to post a total that eventually proved to be beyond Afghanistan’s reach.
Mahmudullah in his knock of 74 struck three fours and two sixes while Kayes struck six fours in his unbeaten 72.
Bangladesh had handed ODI debut to left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam, who was roped in on the basis his performance in the T20 this year. Kayes was the second change with Mosaddek Hossain and Rubel Hossain were the ones to be left out following their poor show.
L. Das c Ihsanullah b Rashid 41
N. Hossain Shanto c Rahmat b Alam 6
M. Mithun lbw b Mujeeb 1
M. Rahim run out 33
S. Al Hassan run out 0
I. Kayes not out 72
Mahmudullah c Rashid b Aftab 74
M. Mortaza c Shahzad b Alam 10
Mehidy Hasan Miraz not out 5
Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 4) 7
Total (for seven in 50 overs) 249
Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Nazmul Hossain Shanto, 4.6 ov), 2-18 (Mohammad Mithun, 5.3 ov), 3-81 (Liton Das, 18.4 ov), 4-81 (Shakib Al Hasan, 18.6 ov), 5-87 (Mushfiqur Rahim, 20.5 ov), 6-215 (Mahmudullah, 46.2 ov), 7-236 (Mashrafe Mortaza, 48.5 ov)
Bowling: Aftab Alam 10-0-54-3, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman 10-0-35-1, Gulbadin Naib 9-0-58-0; Mohammad Nabi 10-0-44-0, Rashid Khan 10-0-46-1 Samiullah Shenwari 1-0-9-0.
Afghanistan Innings (target: 250 runs from 50 overs)
M. Shahzad b Mahmudullah 53
Ihsanullah c Nazmul b Mustafizur 8
Rahmat Shah run out 1
H. Shahidi b Mashraf 71
A. Afghan c Mahmudullah b Mashrafe 39
M. Nabi c Shanto b Shakib 38
S. Shenwari not out 23
Rashid Khan c & b Mustafizur 5
Gulbadin Naib not out 0
Extras: 8 (lb 3, w 5)
Total (for seven in 50 overs) 246
Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Ihsanullah, 4.1 ov), 2-26 (Rahmat Shah, 7.2 ov), 3-89 (Mohammad Shahzad, 24.4 ov), 4-167 (Asghar Afghan, 39.4 ov), 5-192 (Hashmatullah Shahidi, 43.3 ov), 6-238 (Mohammad Nabi, 48.3 ov), 7-244 (Rashid Khan, 49.2 ov).
Bowling: Mashrafe Mortaza 10-0-62-2, Nazmul Islam 8-0-29-0, Mustafizur Rahman 9-1-44-2, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 9-1-36-0, Shakib Al Hasan 9-0-55-1, Mahmudullah 5-0-17-1.