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All-Round Rashid Khan Savours 'Special' Day, Mortaza Rues Poor Death Bowling

All-Round Rashid Khan Savours 'Special' Day, Mortaza Rues Poor Death Bowling

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan, who starred with both bat and ball in his side's 136-run win over Bangladesh in the 6th ODI of the Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi said that he wanted to dedicate his man-of-the-match award to Atif Mashal, the ex-chairman of the Afghanistan Cricket Board who stepped down from the post on Wednesday.

The Group B Asia Cup match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi seemed to be in the balance till the 41st over, with Afghanistan reduced to 160 for 7. However, Rashid Khan then took the game away from Bangladesh with an unbeaten 57 off 32 balls, along with Gulbadin Naib's 42 off 38. The unbroken 95-run stand powered Afghanistan to 255 for 7, after which Rashid returned figures of 9-3-13-2 to dismiss Bangladesh for just 119.

He also ran out Abu Hider Rony with an agile effort in the field to cap off a wonderful 20th birthday.

"It was a special day for me and I am realy happy as I contributed in batting, bowling and fielding," Rashid said at the post-match presentation ceremony. "We have worked hard for this and we want to continue this form. I wanted to bat till the end and focus on each and every ball. I had good preparation in the practice session.

"We have been working hard on our fielding as it can win matches for you. It is all about luck in batting and bowling but fielding is one thing that is totally in our hands and we wanted to get better."

Rashid didn't come on to bowl till the 21st over, a strategy to ensure he bowls maximum dot balls in the middle overs.

"I come late to bowl because I can bowl dot balls and put the pressure on the batsmen," he explained. "I think the wicket changes behaviour here every match so we look to stay positive in our approach. We don't want to focus too much on result. We just want to give our 100% on field. I want to dedicate this Man of the Match award to ex-chairman of Afghanistan cricket Atif Mashal, he has done a great job for Afghanistan cricket in the past few years.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza rued his side's inability to control Afghanistan in the death overs.

"I think Afghanistan outplayed us from the 40th over in the first innings," he said. "Our batting was not up to the mark and the bowling in last 10 overs was poor. We have to be fresh for tomorrow's big match. It is hard to recover from the heat and play back to back matches. Hopefully we will come up with something better tomorrow and play hard. Tamim is going back home. Mushy had a good rest, Mustafizur is coming back from an injury as well so they will play tomorrow since it is a game of consequence."

Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan lauded how his team played on the day, saying, "If we put 230+ runs on the board it will be difficult for the opposition team as we have good fielding and extremely good bowling. It was a very important game for us. We gave two top-order wickets very easily and even our middle-order was poor. We weren't finishing well in the last few matches but Rashid and Naib in the last 7-8 overs finished very well today."

Bangladesh will take on India in Super Four Stage of the Asia Cup on Friday in Dubai, while Afghanistan will take on Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on the same day.