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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Afghanistan's Asia Cup hopes over as Bangladesh set up showdown with Pakistan

Bangladesh win thriller in Abu Dhabi by three runs

Bangladesh will reach the Asia Cup final if they beat Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.  AFP
Bangladesh will reach the Asia Cup final if they beat Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.  AFP

Afghanistan's hopes of reaching the Asia Cup final are over after they lost by three runs to Bangladesh in a thrilling clash in Abu Dhabi.

Bangladesh's bowlers held their nerve to clinch the win that sets them up with a winner-takes-all showdown with Pakistan on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

Whoever comes out on top in the final Super Four match will qualify for Friday's final against India, who are guaranteed a place after beating Pakistan in Sunday's other game.

Having lost their first two games Afghanistan cannot finish higher then third, even if they do win their final Super Four game against India in Dubai on Tuesday.

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Afghanistan required eight of the last over as they chased 250 to win from left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman, who bowled an excellent last over to take a wicket and concede two runs and two leg-byes.

Mohammed Nabi (39) and Samiullah Shinwari (23 not out) had the task of taking the Afghans over the line when they required 50 in 30 balls, and then 31 of 18 and 19 of 12.

Nabi smashed Shakbi Al Hasan’s second delivery of the second last over the long-off fence for six, but fell in the next to a fine catch by Nazmul Hossain marshalling in the same area.

That brought Rashid Khan to the crease and he took strike at the start of the final over.

Rashid took two of the first delivery but played then was caught and bowled.

It ultimately came down to Afghanistan needing a boundary off the final ball, but Shinwari failed to make any contact with the ball to spark the Bangladesh celebrations.

Bangladesh had made 249-7 batting first, with a sixth-wicket stand of 138 between Mahmudullah (74) and Imrul Kayes (72 not out) the backbone of the innings.

Afghanistan had lost early wickets in reply, but Hashmatullah Shahidi's 71 had given them hope.

But his dismissal, with the score on 192-5, put Afghanistan on the backfoot and they came up agonisingly short in the final over, as they had done against Pakistan on Friday.