Towhid hits fifty as Bangladesh hobble to 169-9 in rain-hit match

Bangladesh batsman Towhid Hridoy hit a fifty in the first ODI against Afghanistan at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on 5 July 2023Shamsul Hoque

Towhid Hridoy’s fifty was the only shining light in a disappointing batting performance from Bangladesh where the hosts posted 169-9 in 43 overs in the first One-Day International (ODI) against Afghanistan on a rainy day in Chattogram.

Towhid made 51 off 67 balls before getting out as the ninth Bangladeshi player in an innings which was dominated by the Afghan bowlers.

Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman strangled the Bangladesh middle-order, finishing with 2-21 and 2-23 respectively while pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi struck thrice.

Afghanistan will have to chase a revised target of 164, owing to the two rain interruptions which reduced the match into a 43-over-a-side contest.

Sent to bat, Bangladesh lost their entire top-order before the first of the two rain interruptions at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Wednesday.

They lost the wicket of captain Tamim Iqbal in the first powerplay, who chased a wayward ball on the off side from Farooqi and paid the price, nicking it straight to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz to depart for 13 off 22 balls.

Tamim Iqbal looks distraught after getting out in the first ODI against Afghanistan at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on 5 July 2023
Shamsul Hoque

Incidentally, this is the fourth time Tamim has fallen victim to the Afghan pacer.

The innings from Tamim was an anticlimactic one, considering the drama that preceded Tamim’s participation in the first ODI.

A day before the match, Tamim said he is not fully fit but will feature in the first ODI to better assess his fitness, a statement that the team management didn’t appreciate.

But the captain’s ‘fitness test’ ended up being a brief one as his innings ended in the seventh over.

After Tamim’s departure, Najmul Hossain Shanto joined Liton Das and the duo added 35 runs off 27 balls before Liton threw away his wicket. He attempted a sweep off Mujeeb Ur Rahman, which went straight into the hands of Rahmat Shah.

After Liton departed for 36 off 35 balls, Shanto (12 off 16 balls) followed him to the dressing room in the very next over, top-edging a sweep shot against Mohammad Nabi, which was gleefully caught by Mohammad Saleem.

Najmul Hossain Shanto walks back after losing his wicket
Shamsul Hoque

Shakib and Towhid were trying to rebuild the innings before rain stopped the proceedings after 15.1 overs with Bangladesh on 84-3.

After a 45-minute-long rain interruption, Shakib and Towhid resumed the proceedings.

Shakib looked out of touch as he struggled to rotate the strike. His struggle ended in the 23rd over when Mohammad Nabi took a sharp catch off Azmatullah Omarzai to dismiss him for 15 off 38 balls.

The experienced Mushfiqur Rahim departed in the following over for just one, falling victim to Rashid Khan. The ball hit the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman’s pad before crashing onto the stumps.

Mushfiqur Rahim walks back dejected after losing his wicket
Shamsul Hoque

Afif Hossain, who is making his comeback after two series, couldn’t cash in on the opportunity and got trapped leg before wicket by Rashid.

The umpire had initially given it not out but the third umpire reversed the original call after Afghanistan took a review.

Afif’s departure for four reduced Bangladesh to 128-6 in 27.2 overs.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz (five off 23 balls) also couldn’t keep Towhid company for too long, as he was trapped LBW by Farooqi in the penultimate ball of the 33rd over.

Soon after Miraz’s departure, rain resumed once again, this time stopping play for another 50 minutes or so.

When play resumed under revised conditions, Bangladesh had 51 legal balls left with three wickets in hand.

In those 51 balls, the Tigers managed to score just 25 runs, finishing at a below par total.

Towhid, who was on 42 before the second rain interruption, completed his fifty in the 41st over before giving an edge to the keeper off Farooqi in the very next ball.

Bangladesh will now be looking towards their three-pronged fast bowling attack to pull off a victory which at the halfway line seems unlikely.