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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Rashid Khan stars on birthday to inspire Afghanistan to Asia Cup victory over Bangladesh

Afghan spinner follows up half century with two wickets to lead his side to victory in Abu Dhabi

Rashid Khan celebrated his 20th birthday with a superb all-round performance to lead Afghanistan to an emphatic victory over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup dead-rubber group game on Thursday.

The Afghan spinner smashed a 32-ball 57 and shared a record 95-run stand for the eighth wicket with Gulbadin Naib to help Afghanistan post 255-7.

Rashid’s knock was highlighted by eight fours and a six over the mid-wicket fence. Gulbadin chipped in a valuable 38-ball 42.

After lifting his side with that cameo knock, Rashid came in to do what he does best, bowling a tidy spell to return with figures of 9-3-13-2 in the 136-run triumph.

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Afghanistan, electing to bat first, had earlier laboured to 160-7 in 40.5 overs before Rashid and Gulbadin came together to put the Bangladesh bowling attack to the sword.

Bangladesh were in a strong position until the 41st over with Abu Hider, making his ODI debut, provided the early breakthroughs. The left arm seamer grabbed the first two wickets to reduce Afghanistan to 28-2 in the sixth over.

Abu Hider was in the spotlight again when he held on to an excellent catch at the long-on fence to remove Mohammed Shahzad for 37 for the first of four wickets for left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan.

It also ended a 51-run stand for the third wicket between Shahzad and Hashmatullah Shahidi, who hit a defiant 98-ball 58 having arrived at the crease at No 4.

Playing for the first time in Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh were given a warm reception by their fans. They outnumbered the Afghans in the 17,000 crowd by occupying more than 75 per cent of the stadium.

They also braved the scorching afternoon sun at the uncovered spectators’ area to stand behind their team, but midway through their innings they started to leave after the fall of Shakib’s wicket that left them struggling at 79-5.

And it was Rashid who had Shakib trapped in front for the first of his two wickets. Mujeeb ur Rahman was the first to strike when he had debutant Nazmul Hossain caught by Aftab Alam at backward point for 15.

Alam removed the other opener Liton Das and Gulbadin produced a double blow to leave Bangladesh reeling at 43-4. Bangladeshi wickets continued to fall at regular intervals until Mujeeb Ur Rahman wrapped up the victory for Afghanistan by trapping No 11 Rubel Hossain lbw for a first-ball duck.

Afghanistan play Pakistan in the opening Super Four round at the Zayed Cricket stadium while Bangladesh travel to Dubai for a meeting with India both on Friday.