Afghanistan put up a brilliant all-round display to take 1-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 when they recorded a comfortable 45-run triumph over Bangladesh in the first match held on Sunday at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Dehradun in India.
Opener Mohammad Shahzad contributed highest 40 runs and later some late flurry of strokes from Shafiqullah Shafiq and Samiullah Shenwari saw Afghanistan post a challenging total of 167-8 against Bangladesh after they were asked to bat first by Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Chasing a mammoth target of 168 runs set by Afghanistan, the Tigers suffered an early batting jolt from the very first ball when they lost ace, opener Tamim Iqbal for a duck after Mujeeb ur Rahman trapped him leg-before for a duck.
Efforts from Liton Das (30), Shakib with 15 off 15 balls and Mushfiqur Rahim with 20 off 17 balls saw Tiger reached 80 for 3 in ten overs and at that time 88 odd runs in next ten overs looked a reasonable target.
But Afghanistan’s star leg spinner Rashid Khan introduced in the 11th over shattered Tiger hopes with two wickets in his first two deliveries. First ace batsman Mushfiqur Rahim departed with a wretched reverse sweep and Sabbir Rahman was dismissed for a golden duck.
Afghans from there on took full control of the proceedings and while Bangladesh failed to recover there and went into further trouble as wickets felled at regular interval.
Mahmudullah with 29 and Mossadek with 14-tried their best but in vain as Afghan bowlers never allowed Bangladesh to recover as Tigers were eventually bowled out for 122 runs in the 19th overs giving Afghans their maiden victory over Bangladesh in T20 format. Rashid Khan and Shapoor Zadran bagged three wickets each for the Afghans.
Earlier, Afghan openers Mohammad Shahzad and Usman Ghani gave them a solid start with a 62-run opening stand before pacer Rubel Hossain gave the Tigers an all-important breakthrough bowling Ghani out after for 26 runs off 24 balls.
Shakib dismissed Shahzad while Mahmudullah sent back to Najibullah Zadran (two) and Mohammad Nabi for a duck in the same over to help Bangladesh to fight back which was ruined by the Afghans later power-hitting.
However, Bangladesh were eventually able to restrict the Afghans to 115-4 in 17 overs but the Afghan lower middle-orders struck 52 off last three overs to take them to score a competitive total in the inaugural international match of the series.
Cameo Shafiqullah Shafiq blasted 24 off eight balls while Samiullah Shenwari made 36 off 18 balls.
Mahmudullah and Abul Hasan claimed two wickets apiece while Shakib, Abu Jayed and Rubel shared one wicket each for Bangladesh.
The second of the series will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) at the same venue.