Agencies /Abu Dhabi
Afghanistan lost their second close match in three days, failing to make eight runs off the last over against Bangladesh in their Super Four match of the Asia Cup here yesterday.
Chasing 250 for victory, Afghanistan could only manage 246 for 7 as Bangladesh clinched a three-run victory to move to second spot behind India in the Super Four standings.
On Friday, Pakistan had beaten Afghanistan by three wickets in a tense match with Shoaib Malik hitting a six and four in the last over to post an unbeaten 51.
The Bangladesh win meant India sailed into the September 28 final in Dubai while Pakistan and Bangladesh meet in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday to decide the second finalist.
Yesterday, the Afghans hung on despite losing two wickets for 26 to run Bangladesh close with wicket-keeper and opener Mohamed Shahzad scoring 53 off 81 balls and Hashmatullah Shahidi belting 71 off 99.
Shahidi, who had missed his century by three runs against Pakistan, put on a 63-run stand for the third wicket with Shahzad.
But after Shahzad was bowled by Mahmuduallah, Shahidi and Asghar Afghan added a further 78 runs for the fourth wicket to keep Afghanistan in the hunt.
Shahidi however departed in the 44th over with Afghanistan needing 58 for victory but Mohamed Nabi hit 38 off 28 balls with two sixes and an equal number of fours to keep the scoreboard moving.
Nabi was the sixth Afghan batsman to get out, losing his wicket with the team requiring 12 runs in nine balls for victory.
And although Samiullah Shinwari had given Nabi good support, eventually finishing with a 19-ball 23, he couldn’t hit a four off the last ball bowled by Mustafizur Rahman as Afghanistan again fell agonizingly short.
Earlier, Mahmudullah Riyad and Imarul Kayes knocked half centuries to lift Bangladesh to a fighting 249-7.
Riyad scored 81-ball 74 with two sixes and three boundaries while Kayes — recalled as a back-up to strengthen the batting — made 89 ball 72 not out to help Bangladesh recover from a precarious 5-87 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Opener Liton Das scored 41 and Mushfiqur Rahim made 33 but Bangaldesh — who won the toss and batted — owed their total to a solid 128-run stand for the sixth wicket between Riyad and Kayes.
Kayes gave good support to Riyad as the two built the innings after Bangladesh’s star batsman Shakib Al Hasan was run out for nought.
Kayes hit six boundaries as Bangladesh played the dangerous spinning duo of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman who managed a wicket each.
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