Bangladesh sealed a comfortable 88-run win over Afghanistan in the second ODI in Chattogram and clinched the three-match series 2-0. Set 306, Afghanistan made 218 after half-centuries from Najibullah Zadran and Rahmat Shah.
The win, however, was set up by Liton Das’s fifth ODI ton and the 93-ball 86 from Mushfiqur Rahim. The pair shared a 202-run stand for the third wicket and ensured the bowlers couldn’t quite land any punches. Even though Bangladesh scored just 34 in the last five overs, both Das and Rahim had done enough damage to bat the visitors out of the contest.
The margin, probably, is a fair reflection of the way the contest played out. Afghanistan were lackluster on the field – something that was on show as they took over four hours to bowl their 50 overs. Between missed stumping and run outs, and dropped catches, they lacked penetration and couldn’t really trouble the Bangladesh pair.
Tamim Iqbal fell in the seventh over for 12 off 24 but Bangladesh moved forward with Shakib and Das making 45 for the second wicket. Rashid Khan had Shakib lbw in the 16th over but from there on the hosts took charge of the game and pinned Afghanistan on the mat.
Both Das and Rahim were keen not to give wickets to Rashid. They not only established that goal, they were also able to disrupt his rhythm with frequent boundaries as the legspinner ended with 10-0-54-1. After Shakib’s dismissal, they played out three quiet overs but both Rahim and Das struck a boundary each against Rashid in the 20th to carry the side over 100. Another slow-moving period of three overs followed but Das again broke the shackles with twin boundaries against Rahmat Shah. Fazalhaq Farooqi, who dented Bangladesh early in the opening ODI, too was put under pressure.
Afghanistan lost an opportunity in the 38th over. Das struck Mujeeb ur Rahman straight to cover but was dropped by captain Hashmatullah Shahidi. Three overs later, Das cantered to his ton with a boundary against Rashid off 107 balls. He then upped the ante and struck Farooqi for a four and six in the 44th to ensure Afghanistan continued to feel the heat. Rahim too got lucky against Mujeeb and survived a stumping chance in the 42nd over. Fareed Ahmad dismissed Das and Rahim on consecutive deliveries to end their association before Mahmudullah took the side past 300 in the penultimate over.
Afghanistan’s chase never really took off. Riaz Hassan, Shahidi and Azmatullah Omarzai were dismissed for single-digit scores as they were reduced to 34 for 3. Shah and Najibullah made 89 for the fourth wicket but that stand was broken by Taskin Ahmed as the pacer accounted for both the batters. Nabi made 32, Rashid struck 29 off 26 but Shakib and Taskin were able to keep things in check.
Ban vs Afg 2022: Liton continues to shine after turning a corner
Bangladesh’s opener Liton Kumar Das has been on a roll since 2020. The right-handed batsman scored a brilliant hundred against Afghanistan in the second ODI in Chattogram to prove his class against one of the best spin attacks in the world comprising Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi.
There was no doubt about Liton’s batting ability that first came to the fore with his spectacular hundred against India in the Asia Cup final in 2018. Since that though, there was some concern over his consistency despite having shown his class now and then. Liton had to take the blame for throwing away his wicket more often than not and many felt it was largely due to his ability to play many strokes.
In his seven-year career, he has scored 1472 runs that include five hundreds and three fifties in 49 innings, averaging 32. From 2015 to 2019, however, he scored 768 runs in 33 innings that included one hundred and the three half-centuries he’s scored so far in his ODI career, averaging 24.77.
He, however, seemed to have learnt his lesson in the last two years. Since 2020, Liton has scored 704 runs that includes four hundreds in 16 innings averaging 46.93. He did not curb his aggressive instinct but began taking his time in the middle before letting loose. He learnt the skill of clearing the rope which had a lot to contribute to this transformation with him more confident even after being subdued for a while in the middle at different junctures of the innings, while his ability to rotate strike has become his biggest strength of late.
“During the last two years there is a big change in his ODI’s batting philosophy,” Habibul Bashar, the former national skipper, and current selector, told Cricbuzz on Friday (February 25). “Earlier he used to rush but now he is picking up singles and that is releasing a lot of pressure from his shoulder. In the past whenever he used to play three to four dot balls it would put pressure on him and he would go for an unnecessary shot but now that is not the case as he is picking up the singles quite regularly.
“Earlier he used to manufacture shots but now that is not the case due to his focus on rotating the strike. And because he knows that he can play many shots he is always in good stead mentally even if he is picking three to four runs in an over when things get tough at different phases of the innings,” he said.
Liton reached his century in the 41st over when he lofted Rashid over covers, but in the process, laid the foundation for Bangladesh to put up a competitive total on the board in the company of Mushfiqur Rahim, with whom he shared a record third-wicket stand of 202 runs. Liton and Mushfiqur seemed well aware that neutralizing the Afghan spinners was the best way forward and both of them avoided any unnecessary risk.
Liton, however, never looked ready to go into a shell and he played strokes whenever there was an opportunity. His ability to play the ball late helped him against the likes of Rashid and others as he chose to cut them square of the wickets rather than forcing them into a shot over midwicket. “He always had time in his hands and now he is properly using it. All I can say is he is planning his innings better in the last two years unlike the past when he seemed to be in a rush rather than taking his time and it can happen for any batsman. Some learn quickly while some take time to understand their game,” he added.
Liton was lucky to be dropped on 87 by Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi off Mujeeb, but that can take nothing away from him as he displayed an excellent brand of batting mixed with caution and aggression. Liton eventually departed for 136 off 126 deliveries laced with 16 fours apart from the two sixes when he pulled a slower short ball of Fareed Ahmed to Mujeeb at deep midwicket. Bangladesh eventually went on to post 306 on the board.
Liton said that he is reaping the benefit of not thinking too much about his batting and just concentrating on his process.
“I try to follow same the process in practice regardless of doing well or not. One good thing is that I don’t think much about the game anymore,” Liton told reporters on Friday. “As an opener, I have to play the big innings. My first target is to try to bat for 35 overs. I know that considering my caliber, I can score 80 runs against any attack in the world. It was going that way today, so when we crossed 40 overs today, we just wanted to get as much runs as possible. We were both set, so we tried to use that situation.
”I kept a Test batting mindset during his first spell, like how I usually start in a Test innings for the first 10 overs. I knew that if we could bat for 15-16 overs, the weather and pitch condition would change. Bowlers are different.
“I think it is my mindset as a player (that’s changed in two years). I consider which way I am playing would give me a higher success rate. You are looking at the centuries but I also played badly in a number of innings. I feel that as an opener, you will either do well or you won’t – opportunities present itself every game. Their best two bowlers bowl at me, which is obviously challenging.
Liton added that nowadays he values his wicket and that helps him a lot to be in good stead as he is not playing too many high-risk shots.
”How you are planning and reading, the game is important. I could have hit him by going down the wicket, but what would be my success rate? I might get a four or a six, but it is a high-risk shot. A wicket puts the team under pressure. I thought about it and realised that there’s value to my wicket, and I hope to continue to value it in the same way.”