Bangladesh overcame a brilliant hat-trick of Karim Janat to seal a dramatic two-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the two-match T20 International series opener at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
In a topsy-turvy game, that was in Bangladesh's favour for most part of the game, Janat suddenly injected life to the match as the hosts entered into the last over, needing just six runs, reports BSS.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz made the equation simpler, hitting Janat a boundary, leaving Bangladesh in need of just two runs for the victory in the last five balls. But drama unfolded then with Janat employing a short ball trick to leave the electric crowd in Sylhet shell-shocked.
His short ball policy accounted Miraz, Taskin Ahmed and Nasum Ahmed as he became the 50th bowler and second Afghanistan player after Rashid Khan to claim a T20 hat-trick.
And suddenly Afghanistan made them heavily favuorite to win the game. But Shoriful Islam thought otherwise. Knowing that Janat would hurl another short ball, he prepared for it and gave him some room to cut it fiercely past point for a boundary, sending the packed stadium into delirium as Bangladesh sneaked home, reaching 157-8, overhauling Afghanistan's 154-7.
The drama in the last over should not put a shed on Towhid Hridoy. The youngster was key in guiding the side home after Bangladesh looked at knife-edge of a defeat, being reduced to 64-4 in 11th over.
He and Shamim Patwari combined for a 73 off 43 for the fifth wicket, which was instrumental in taking the side a 1-0 lead. Shamim who was dropped on 24, scored a crucial 33.
Pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi gave Afghanistan a breakthrough in the first over, dismissing Rony Talukdar (4) before Mujeeb Ur Rahman got rid of Najmul Hossain Shanto for 14.
And when Azmatullah Omarzai got the better of Liton Das (18), Bangladesh was at troubling 39-3 in seventh over.
Shakib Al Hasan made just 19 before pacer Fareed Ahmad had him caught by Janat but he gave the scoreboard a pace which was needed at that moment.
With Bangladesh at 64-4, Hridoy and Shamim came up with bold approach to keep the side in the hunt. Playing with caution and aggression, they edged the side closer before Shamim's expensive slog-sweep against Rashid Khan cost his wicket.
Hridoy who struck three fours and two sixes in his 32-ball-knock kept Bangladesh on track before the last over drama unfolded.
Afghanistan also recovered from early collapse to post 154-7, courtesy of Mohammad Nabi's 40 ball-54 not out.
Azmatullah Omarzai complemented him with 18 ball-33, which studded with four towering sixes. He and Nabi combined for a 56-run partnership for the sixth wicket after Bangladesh made Afghanistan five down for 87 runs in 14th over.
Thanks to Nabi and Omarzai's assault, Afghanistan scored 60 runs in the last five overs to give the scoreboard some respectability. Nabi smote six fours and one six in his knock.
Bangladesh struck in just third over after sending Afghans to bat first with left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed claiming the wicket of Hazratullah Zazai for 8.
Taskin Ahmed gave Bangladesh big relief, taking the wicket of dangerman Rahmanullah Gurbaz who pulled it straight to Mehidy Hasan Miraz at deep backward for 16.
Left-arm pacer Shoriful Islam joined the party as he got the better of Ibrahim Zadran for 8, leaving Afghanistan at 32-3.
But Nabi resisted. However captain Shakib Al Hasan who was the best bowler for the side with 2-27, got into act with the wicket of Karim Janat (3) before Mehidy Hasan Miraz removed Najibullah Zadran who looked set to build a good partnership with Nabi.
Miraz had Najibullah stumped for 23, ending the 35-run partnership. But Nabi again found support in Omarzai to frustrate Bangladesh.
Shakib broke this partnership, taking out Omarzai but Afghanistan by then paved the way to go past 150-run mark.
Nabi pulled Mustafizur Rahman for a boundary through deep mid-wicket to raise his fifth half-century off 39 balls and also brought up team's 150 runs.