New skipper Rashid Khan couldn’t have asked for a better start to his life as the captain of the Afghanistan cricket team. With the visitors looking in advantage on the penultimate day of the one-off Test, it seemed like the rain would spoil Afghanistan’s party the next day. However, Rashid Khan weaved magic with his bowling spell and led from the front to help his side beat Bangladesh by a massive 224 runs!
Afghanistan gained its Test status only a year ago and had played just two Tests before this- its first being against current World Number one India which they lost and its second against Ireland where the Afghans managed to defeat Ireland in its maiden test match. Consequently, this recent victory over Bangladesh was Afghanistan’s third Test victory in history.
Rain affected the game on the final day and soiled many spirits. This saw only 17.2 overs being bowled which were, however, enough for the visitors to take down the remaining four wickets and mark a memorable moment in the country’s cricketing history.
20-year-old Rashid Khan, the youngest Test captain, in this one-off match and marked the occasion by taking six wickets in the second innings to finish the test with 11 wickets to accompany his knock of 51 runs with the willow in his hand.
Naturally, he was awarded the player of the match. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, he said, “We won this game against a side like Bangladesh. We are new to this format, so credit goes to the coaching staff for their support. Everyone applied themselves and stuck to their plans. Credit goes to the batsmen who batted so well in the first innings and the youngsters for the way they bowled. The youngsters are applying their plans and learning from their mistakes. The four-day structure back home is helping the players. We had the best preparation for this game and it was challenging for the batsmen, they applied themselves. The focus now shifts to the T20 series and we’ll try our best to keep enjoying the format. Legend Nabi had his last game, he’s helped us a lot and I thank him for his contribution to Afghanistan. I would like to dedicate this Man of the Match award to him.”
Bangladesh, on the other hand, is still reeling from the pathetic World Cup campaign where they finished eighth. The side is aiming to revamp their team and has trusted legend Shakib Al Hasan as skipper to lead the change. However, following this 224-run defeat to Afghanistan, Bangladesh has now lost a Test against ten different nations.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, captain Shakib Al Hasan said, “(Reasons for the defeat) It’s a combination of both – lack of application from our batsmen and the way they bowled. They deserve this win. After playing for 20 years, we can’t say it’s a build-up process. It’s been a while since we played our last Test match, but Afghanistan kept the pressure on us, credit goes to their hard work. We need to forget this match soon and look forward to the T20I series. They are a very good side in that format, so we need to focus on the series, keeping the World T20 in focus.”
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