Shafaq’s fielding brilliance helps Afghanistan whitewash Bangladesh

It could not have been a more perfect climax for an exciting T20I series at Dehradun when nine runs were required off the final over in the third T20I between Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Medium pacer Karim Jannat was driven to all parts of the ground by Mushfiqur Rahim for five consecutive boundaries in the penultimate over. The world’s best T20I bowler Rashid Khan was thrown the ball by Captain Asghar Stanikzai to defend nine runs and win the match for Afghanistan as well as end the series with a whitewash. It all came down to four runs off the last ball, and Bangladesh almost clinched a win when  Ariful Haque struck a straight hit but an acrobatic attempt by Shafiqullah Shafaq ensured that Bangladesh go home without a win in the series.

Earlier Afghanistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Afghan openers put on an opening partnership of 55 runs before Mohammad Shahzad was caught LBW before the wicket off Nazmul Islam’s bowling for 26. Usman Ghani was the next man out for 19 getting caught behind off Abu Jayed’s bowling.

Afghanistan’s “Mr. Not out”, Samiullah Shinwari who recently found his form again was the most effective of Afghan batsmen with an unbeaten knock of 33 runs while skipper Asghar Stanikzai contributed 27 runs setting Bangladesh a decent target of 146 runs.

Bangladesh had a shaky start as opener Tamim Iqbal was caught by sub-fielder Darwish Rasooli off Mujeeb ur Rahman’s bowling. Bangladesh lost wickets quickly and were struggling at 53/4 in 9th over of the chase. However, an 84 run stand between All-rounder Mahmudullah and wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim stabilized their innings and almost won the match for Bangladesh but neither of them were able to take Bangladesh over the line.

Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim and Afghanistan’s Samiullah Shinwari were declared Man of the match and Smart player of the match awards respectively, while Rashid Khan bagged Player of the series award for his 8 wickets in the series.