Sylhet, Bangladesh – In a thrilling encounter at the Sylhet International Stadium, Bangladesh secured a narrow two-wicket victory against Afghanistan in the first T20 international on Friday, defying Karim Janat’s impressive hat-trick in the final over.
The match seemed to be well in control for the hosts as Towhid Hridoy and Shamim Hossain stitched together a crucial 73-run partnership for the fifth wicket in pursuit of Afghanistan’s 154-7.
However, the atmosphere at the stadium turned electric as the game approached its climax. Rashid Khan disrupted Bangladesh’s momentum by dismissing Shamim for 33, breaking the partnership. With just six runs needed from the final over, Bangladesh were still considered favorites to seal the win.
Nevertheless, Janat had other plans. In a stunning display of bowling skill, he eliminated Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, and Nasum Ahmed with the second, third, and fourth deliveries of the over, leaving the hosts two runs short of victory.
Facing a nail-biting situation, Shoriful Islam, batting at number 10, delivered a powerful shot that raced to the boundary, securing a dramatic win for Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Hridoy remained unbeaten on 47 at the non-striker’s end, as Janat completed his spell with figures of 3-15.
“We always had the belief that our lower-order batsmen can contribute. Today, it was Shoriful’s turn, but Miraz could have finished it as well,” remarked Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan after the match.
Rashid, the Afghanistan captain, expressed his disappointment with his team’s inability to defend their total. “Considering our bowling unit, our total should have been enough. However, in T20 cricket, one innings can completely change the game,” Rashid lamented.
Afghanistan faced early struggles in their innings, losing four wickets for just 52 runs after Bangladesh won the toss and elected to bowl. However, Mohammad Nabi played a superb unbeaten knock of 54 off 40 balls, anchoring Afghanistan to a competitive score.
Nabi signaled his intent right from the first ball he faced, dispatching it to the boundary. He continued to accumulate runs steadily, occasionally finding the fence. Najibullah Zadran provided brief support with a run-a-ball 23 before falling to Mehidy, while Azmatullah Omarzai smashed four sixes on his way to a brisk 33 off 18 deliveries, ensuring Afghanistan never lost their way completely.
Among the Bangladesh bowlers, Shakib emerged as the most successful, claiming two wickets for 27 runs.
Similarly, Bangladesh faced early setbacks in their chase, finding themselves at 64-4 with Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Omarzai, and Fareed Ahmed each taking a wicket. However, Hridoy and Shamim staged a remarkable comeback to guide their team to victory.
The second match of the series will take place at the same venue on Sunday, promising another thrilling encounter between the two teams.