The 2023 ODI World Cup kicked off with a thrilling encounter between Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Dharamsala. Bangladesh emerged victorious with a commanding performance, securing a six-wicket win. This victory was made possible by exceptional contributions from key players, notably Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shakib al Hasan, and Najmul Shanto.
Dominance in Bowling
Afghanistan’s innings began on a promising note as their openers provided a solid start. However, the early struggles of the Bangladesh pacers did not deter their determination. It was in the eighth over that Bangladesh’s skipper, Shakib al Hasan, took matters into his own hands. He bowled a well-placed delivery outside off, tempting a slog sweep from Ibrahim Zadran. The result was a top-edge, not the boundary Zadran had intended. This wicket marked the beginning of Bangladesh’s resurgence.
Spin played a crucial role in curtailing Afghanistan’s progress. Shakib struck again, this time dismissing Rahmat Shah in a similar manner. Rahmanullah Gurbaz showed promise with a boundary off Shoriful Islam but fell short of a half-century, deceived by a slower ball from Mustafizur Rahman. Shakib continued to make an impact, knocking down the leg-stump of Najibullah Zadran, while Taskin Ahmed got the better of Mohammed Nabi once again. The Afghanistan batting lineup collapsed dramatically, losing 4 wickets for just 14 runs within a span of 32 balls.
Miraz’s All-Round Brilliance
Mehidy Hasan Miraz was undoubtedly the star of the match. His exceptional all-round performance included picking up 3 wickets for just 25 runs with the ball and scoring a vital 57 runs with the bat. Miraz’s ability to contribute effectively in both departments of the game was instrumental in Bangladesh’s success.
Miraz’s partnership with Shakib was crucial in dismantling the Afghan batting order. Together, they wreaked havoc and limited Afghanistan to a modest total of 156 on a slow wicket. Miraz’s versatility was evident as he not only displayed finesse with theball but also showcased his batting prowess, rescuing Bangladesh from a precarious position of 27/2 with a remarkable 97-run partnership for the third wicket alongside Najmul Shanto.
Najmul Shanto’s contribution to the victory cannot be overstated. He remained unbeaten with 58* runs and played a composed innings. Shanto’s ability to anchor the chase and rotate the strike effectively ensured that Bangladesh did not waver in their pursuit of the target.
Shanto and Miraz’s partnership was characterized by their adept handling of Rashid Khan’s bowling, preventing him from settling into a rhythm. Miraz kept the scoreboard ticking with the occasional boundary, bringing up his half-century in the 23rd over off 58 balls. Although Miraz eventually fell after an impressive 57 runs, Shanto continued to march on, guiding Bangladesh to victory in the 35th over and completing his own 80-ball fifty in the process.
Afghanistan’s Missed Opportunities
Afghanistan had their moments in the match, especially in the early stages when their openers provided a solid foundation. However, poor shot selection and a lack of composure during crucial phases led to their downfall. Hashmatullah Shahidi struggled against Mehidy Hasan Miraz, scoring just 3 runs off 22 balls before throwing away his wicket. Afghanistan’s collapse from a comfortable 112/2 to 156 all out was a result of these missed opportunities.
In a gripping encounter, Bangladesh demonstrated their mettle in both bowling and batting, securing a crucial win in the 2023 ODI World Cup. The contributions of Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Shakib al Hasan, and Najmul Shanto played a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s victory. As the tournament unfolds, Bangladesh will aim to build on this strong start and make their mark on the world stage.