Thursday, September 23

Afif credits team effort behind victory

Afif and Nurul were key to the victory in the second match as Bangladesh chased down 122 runs on a slow and low wicket in Mirpur

Bangladesh have been ripping success in the ongoing T20I series against visitors Australia riding on team performance, said middle-order batsman Afif Hossain.

Hosts Bangladesh Wednesday took themselves on the verge of a rare series win against Australia after defeating the tourists by five wickets with eight balls to spare in the second match of the five-T20I series at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Bangladesh are 2-0 up in the series and a win the third game Friday will mean the hosts secure a series victory with two games to spare.

In the first match of the series, Bangladesh had won by 23 runs to register their maiden victory in the format against Australia.

Afif and Nurul Hasan were key to the victory in the second match as Bangladesh chased down 122 runs on a slow and low wicket in Mirpur.

The duo held onto their nerves in a pressure situation by pulling up an unbroken 56-run sixth wicket stand off 44 deliveries, and ensured Bangladesh reached their destination without further loss of wickets.

Afif remained unbeaten on a 31-ball 37 with five boundaries and a six, while Nurul added a responsible 22 off 21 laced with three boundaries.

Earlier, Bangladesh bowled first after Australia won the toss and the hosts’ bowling unit pulled up a joint effort to restrict the visitors to 121 for seven wickets.

Left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman led the group with three wickets in four overs conceding 23 runs.

“There is always a bowling advantage for us when we play in Mirpur. The bowlers have been able to use that bowling advantage very well so far in the series I think. At the same time we are also doing well as a fielding unit. Overall we are being able to produce a good team effort,” said man of the match Afif to the media following the game Wednesday.

Speaking of the match-winning partnership with Nurul, Afif said the duo ensured to not lose their wickets but remain till the end to finish the game and rotation of strike with some boundaries will keep the required rate in control.

“[Mahmudullah] Riyad bhai had told me to play normal the first two-three overs and my plan was to stay in the wicket till the end and finish the game.

“We [me and Nurul] had to keep ourselves calm and keep wickets in hand. That was the plan and Nurul bhai played really well and that’s why no pressure came on to me. We both had planned not to give away our wickets as we needed run-a-ball. So we both were trying to score runs but not give away wickets,” he added.

On the possibility of a series victory if they win the next game, Afif said, “We [as a team] focus on game by game and in that sense of course we will look forward to the third game of the series, to play some good cricket there and win the game. Winning that game will mean a series win for us so will be looking forward to that.”

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