Afghanistan’s first World Cup match ended in frustration as they slipped to a 105-run defeat to Bangladesh in Canberra.
The debutants restricted Bangladesh to 267 all out but were then reduced to 3-3 and dismissed for 162 in 42.5 overs at Manuka Oval, with skipper Mohammad Nabi top scoring with 44.
Nabi’s opposite number, Mashrafe Mortaza (3-20), took three wickets for Bangladesh, who had Mushfiqur Rahim (71 of 56 balls) and Shakib Al Hasan (63 off 51) to thank for propelling them to a respectable total.
Mortaza won the toss and elected to bat but his charges trundled along in the first 29.1 overs, reaching 119-4, with Afghanistan seamer Mirwais Ahshraf and Shapoor Zadran plucking two scalps each.
However, Shakib and Mushfiqur then shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 114 – the pair’s fourth-century stand in one-day international cricket – as The Tigers moved their total on to 233 in the 45th over.
But Shakib’s departure – the world’s No 1 ranked all-rounder bowled by Hamid Hassan – led to Bangladesh losing their final six wickets for 34 runs, with Aftab Alam castling last man Taskin Ahmed with the final ball of the 50th over.
Shapoor Zadran (2-20 from seven overs) recorded the best bowling figures for Afghanistan but Samiullah Shenwari – who caught Mushfiqur expertly in the deep – got through just seven deliveries before being removed from the attack for running on the pitch.
Afghanistan – victorious over Bangladesh in the side’s only previous ODI – made a dreadful start to their reply, sinking to 3-3 within the opening three overs after losing Javed Ahmadi (1), Afsar Zazai (1) and Asghar Stanikzai (1).
Nowroz Mangal (27) and Shenwari (42) dug in for the World Cup newcomers, combining for a 62-run stand, but Mangal was then pouched brilliantly by Rubel Hossain on the leg side after attempting a slog sweep.
Rubel did himself some damage while taking the catch, limping off the field with a suspected calf injury, but the seamer saw his team-mates pick up another wicket when Shenwari was run out trying to collect a second run.
Nabi got himself in, stroking five boundaries, but then clubbed Mortaza straight to mid-off as the associate nation shipped their last five wickets for 26 runs, Alam’s run out ending the contest.
Bangladesh are next in action against World Cup favourites and co-hosts Australia in Brisbane on Saturday – a game in which fit-again Baggy Greens skipper Michael Clarke is expected to feature – while Afghanistan tackle Sri Lanka in Dunedin on Sunday.
Sky Sports pundit Mark Butcher: “Afghanistan buck the trend of most of the Associate nations in that they perform admirably in the field and bowl pretty well but need a bit of work with their batting. They had to bat in the tricky twilight period in this game and there would have been nerves, but they were pretty much out of the game at 3-3.
“If the top order is going to be blown away like that then they will have a few chastening experiences. However, Afghanistan made Bangladesh sweat when their seamers were being very miserly and they acquitted themselves really well. They didn’t disgrace themselves and deserve their place in this World Cup, so hopefully they can build on that.”
Watch highlights of Bangladesh v Afghanistan on Sky Sports World Cup at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 8pm. These are also available in Hindi language over on Zee Cinema, channel 790.