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Abu Dhabi:Bangladesh avenged their humiliating loss to Afghanistan in the group stage of the Asia Cup 2018 by clinching the Super Four thriller by three runs at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

With eight runs to defend in the final over, Mustafizur Rahman claimed the wicket of Rashid Khan and gave away just four runs to relegate Afghanistan to the bottom of the Super Four.

Earlier, while batting Bangladesh were 87 for five at one stage and a crucial 128-run sixth wicket partnership between experienced Mohammad Mahmudullah (74) and comeback man Imrul Kayes (72) rescued them out of the rabbit hole.

Bangladesh opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto again failed to find his feet on the big stage. Bangladesh's misery got compounded as Mohammad Mithun was trapped leg before. By the sixth over, Mushfiqur Rahim joined Liton Das with Bangladesh reeling at 18 runs.

Mushfiqur had a lucky escape with his catch being dropped. Liton-Mushfiqur pair brought needed stability to the innings. But spinner Rashid Khan removed Liton (41) to end a 63-run partnership.

And then Bangladesh entered a blind alley of self-destruction. Two dependable seniors - Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur were run out due to their own undoing of poor calling. Bangladesh slipped to 87 for five wickets by 21 overs. Then Kayes and Mahmudullah took charge of the situation. They rotated strikes, punished bad balls and took Bangladesh to 150 by 36th over.

The duo ensured an average run rate of more than four an over. Mahmudullah powered Bangladesh past 200 by smacking Rashid for a huge six. He perished while trying to push the scoring but Kayes, with timely boundaries, help set a target of 250.

In reply, Afghanistan openers Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat started with a flurry of boundaries. Mustafizur Rahman was pushed into attack and claimed Ihsanullah. Rahmat Shah too fell cheaply leaving Afghanistan at 27 runs in eight overs. Hashmatullah Shahidi-Shahzad duo consumed lot of dot balls. Shahzad, however, found odd boundaries to reach his 50. And before he could do more damage, Mahmudullah got rid of him to end a fine 63-run partnership.

Skipper Asghar Afghan joined Shahidi with further 161 required from 25 overs. And just as Afghanistan threatened to shift gears, Mashrafe Mortaza returned to take key wicket of Asghar (39), who with Shahidi had built 78-run partnership. Later, Mortaza slammed the door shut by bowling Shahidi (79). But Mohammad Nabi and Samiullah Shenwari cut the target with 46-run partnership but at the end it wasn't enough.



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