Bangladesh moved a point behind England and the World Cup semi-final places as they beat Afghanistan by 62 runs at Southampton. All-rounder Shakib al Hasan starred again for Bangladesh, taking 5-29 from 10 overs after contributing another half-century with the bat.
In doing so, Shakib became just the second man to make a fifty and take five wickets in a World Cup match, following India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh against Ireland in 2011.
Mushfiqur Rahim anchored the Bangladesh innings with 83 from 87 balls as they posted 262 from their 50 overs. The Bangladesh spinners, led by Shakib, then suffocated the Afghanistan batsmen in their run chase.
Captain and opener Gulbadin Naib made 47 from 75 balls, and Samiullah Shinwari 49, but Afghanistan never gained control of the required run-rate.
The professional win means Bangladesh are now fifth in the World Cup table, one place behind England with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals.
However, they have played at least one more game than all the teams above them and England can increase their cushion with victory against Australia at Lord’s on Tuesday.
|World Cup group table|
Top four go through to semi-finals
Bangladesh keep themselves in the mix
Bangladesh have impressed in this tournament and were one of the teams to benefit from Sri Lanka’s win over England on Friday opening up the battle for a semi-final places.
Against Afghanistan, they were solid if unspectacular with the bat but posted a good total on a used pitch on which it was difficult to score.
Shakib regained his place as the World Cup’s leading scorer, moving to 476 runs with a steady 51 from 69 balls – his fifth score over 50 in the tournament.
After he fell lbw to spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mushfiqur took on the scoring with an innings of quiet accumulation, hitting only five boundaries – the highlight a six over long on.
The Tigers seamers made a scrappy start with the new ball but the introduction of their impressive spinners decided the contest.
Left-arm off-spinner Shakib took a wicket in his first over with opener Rahmat Shah caught at mid-on trying to hit over the top.
After a period of hesitant rebuilding by Afghanistan, Shakib returned for a second spell and claimed the key wickets of Afghanistan captain Gulbadin caught at short extra cover, the dangerous Mohammad Nabi bowled through the gate second ball, and batsman Asghar Afghan caught at deep midwicket for 20.
Najibullah Zadran and Shinwari shared a 43-ball seventh wicket partnership of 56 to suggest a unlikely win was possible but Shakib returned again and dismissed Najibullah to seal his second five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.
Bangladesh have a difficult run-in against India and Pakistan as they bid to qualify for the semi-finals but can take heart from having beaten Pakistan in each of their past four meetings.
|The race for the semi-finals – remaining fixtures|
|Australia (25 June)||India (2 July)||South Africa (28 June)||New Zealand (26 June)|
|India (30 June)||Pakistan (5 July)||West Indies (1 July)||Afghanistan (29 June)|
|New Zealand (3 July)||India (6 July)||Bangladesh (5 July)|
Afghanistan batsmen struggle again
Bangladesh’s total proved too much for Afghanistan but their bowlers would have been relatively pleased at the halfway stage.
Mujeeb took 3-39, again impressing with his variations, and Afghanistan kept things tight through a period of 12.2 overs without a boundary in the middle overs.
But, the game was played on the same pitch Afghanistan failed to chase down a target of 225 against India and again they struggled to find a suitable pace of scoring.
After a solid start, reaching 48-0 after 10 overs, the innings stalled badly with number three Hashmatullah Shahidi making a torturous 11 from 31 balls and Afghan 20 from 38 balls.
Their confused approach was perhaps not helped by the fact they made a fifth change to their opening partnership in the tournament with Rahmat partnering Gulbadin on this occasion. It is the sixth time they have failed to bat out their 50 overs in seven matches.
Afghanistan may also look back on the decision to bowl first at the toss on a used pitch which only got more difficult to bat as the game went on.
They have two games remaining, against Pakistan and West Indies, to try and gain a first win of the tournament.