Bangladesh secured a seven-wicket consolation victory over Afghanistan in the third ODI in Chattogram, thanks to Shoriful Islam’s career-best figures of 4 for 21. Taskin Ahmed and Taijul Islam provided valuable support, taking two wickets each, while Shakib Al Hasan displayed his economical best, conceding only 13 runs from his ten overs and claiming one wicket. This restricted Afghanistan to their lowest total against Bangladesh, just 126 runs.
In response, Bangladesh showed a clinical approach and successfully chased down the target in 23.3 overs, displaying a much-improved performance compared to the first two ODIs. The bowling attack bounced back strongly after conceding 331 for 9 in the previous game. Shakib’s economical spell was a standout feature, marking the third time in Bangladesh’s ODI history where they conceded 13 runs or fewer in a completed spell, with Shakib achieving this feat on all three occasions.
Azmatullah Omarzai’s maiden ODI fifty prevented Afghanistan from posting an even smaller score. He scored 56 runs off 71 balls at number 7, demonstrating resilience while the rest of the Afghan batting lineup struggled against Bangladesh’s accurate bowling.
Afghanistan’s struggled early after in-form batter Ibrahim Zadran edged a moving delivery from Shoriful. Rahmat Shah followed suit in the same over, edging a slightly shorter delivery that was angling away, resulting in a duck for Rahmat and a disappointing series tally of just ten runs.
Taskin then got into action by dismissing the dangerous Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who scored 145 in the previous game, for six runs. Gurbaz attempted a bouncer but ended up edging it, and Mushfiqur took a remarkable leaping catch over his head. When Shoriful trapped Mohammad Nabi lbw in the ninth over, it marked only the third time Bangladesh had taken the first four wickets with 15 or fewer runs on the board.
Shakib made his impact felt when he came around the wicket to Najibullah Zadran, getting him lbw as the left-hander missed a sweep shot. Taijul bowled Hashmatullah Shahidi with an attempted reverse-sweep, leaving Afghanistan struggling at 53 for 6 with nearly half of their innings completed.
Shoriful completed his four-wicket haul when debutant Abdul Rahman pulled a delivery to Taijul at fine leg. Interestingly, all three of Shoriful’s four-wicket hauls have occurred in the month of July – against Zimbabwe in 2021, against West Indies in 2022, and now against Afghanistan in 2023.
Omarzai appeared to be the only batsman capable of mounting a recovery for Afghanistan. His innings of 56 off 71 balls, including a four and three sixes, was noteworthy. He added 36 runs for the ninth wicket with Mujeeb Ur Rahman in 9.4 overs. Omarzai was the last wicket to fall, miscuing a slog off Taskin, and Mohammad Naim took a good catch in the deep.
In Bangladesh’s batting innings, Naim had a disappointing performance, getting out for a duck off just eight balls. He fell to a swinging and seaming delivery from Fazalhaq Farooqi, which was initially headed outside the off stump but ended up dragging back onto the stumps as Naim attempted a cut shot. This dismissal was reminiscent of how he chopped on in the second ODI, although that delivery was shorter.
Farooqi then dismissed Najmul Hossain Shanto by hitting his off stump. Shanto had made room to drive but missed the ball. The two players had exchanged words earlier in the innings, making the send-off quite vocal.
Shakib and Litton formed a crucial 61-run partnership for the third wicket, stabilizing the innings. Shakib scored a run-a-ball 39, including five fours, while Litton played a supporting role at the other end. After Shakib’s departure, Litton, along with Towhid Hridoy, successfully completed the chase, with Hridoy finishing unbeaten on 23.