Abu Dhabi: Rashid Khan celebrated his 20th birthday in style by producing a stunning all-round display as Afghanistan beat Bangladesh by 136 runs in an Asia Cup match in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Rashid smashed an unbeaten 57 off just 32 balls in a superb counter-attacking batting display to take Afghanistan to a competitive 255 for 7 after opting to bat. He and Gulbadin Naib (42 not out) stitched 95 runs for the unconquered eighth wicket as they rained boundaries towards the end of their innings.
On the back of their late batting pyrotechnics, Afghanistan scored 97 runs from the final 10 overs and that made the difference in the fate of the match which, however, was rendered inconsequential as both sides have already made it to the Super Four stage from Group B.
Later, Rashid showed why he is considered a premier leg spinner in the world by taking two crucial wickets, that of Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, the two most experienced players in the Bangladesh side in the absence of the likes of previous match centurion Mushfiqur Rahim.
Shakib Al Hasan (32) and Mahmudullah (27) were the top-scorers for Bangladesh and Rashid claimed their wickets with two gems of deliveries to break the backbone of their run chase. Bangladesh eventually were all out for just 119 in 42.1 overs.
Afghanistan will enter the Super Four stage with confidence after having won both their group matches. They play Pakistan in the same venue on Friday.
Chasing 256 for a win on a slow surface, Bangladesh struggled from the very beginning with two wickets falling inside five overs and runs hard to come by.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto (7), who made ODI debut Thursday, offered a leading edge to point fielder Aftab Alam of the bowling of off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the fourth over.
Earlier, Rashid smashed a superb unbeaten half century and shared 95 runs with Gulbadin Naib for the unconquered eighth wicket as Afghanistan made a stunning fightback to post a competitive 255 for 7.
Opting to bat, Afghanistan were initially struggling against a disciplined Bangladesh bowling attack led by veteran left-arm spinner Shakib, who grabbed four wickets for 42 runs, but Rashid (57 not out) and Gulbadin (42 not out) turned the tables in the final 10 overs.
Afghanistan crossed the 100 mark exactly at the halfway stage but Shakib was only getting better as he bowled out Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan (8) who was beaten by the flight of the delivery and drove the wrong line to see his stumps uprooted.