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Mehidy and Najmul centuries power Bangladesh to 89-run win over Afghanistan in Asia Cup

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto smashed centuries as they powered Bangladesh to an emphatic 89-run win over Afghanistan in the Asia Cup and sealed a place in the Super Fours on Sunday.

Mehidy, opening for the first time since the Asia Cup final in 2018, scored 112 and Najmul continued his brilliant run of batting form with 104 in Bangladesh’s imposing total of 334-5 in the sweltering heat of Lahore.

Bangladesh fast bowlers Taskin Ahmed (4-44) and Shoriful Islam (3-36) bagged seven wickets between them before Afghanistan was dismissed for 245 in 44.3 overs.

Ibrahim Zadran (75) and captain Hashmatullah Shahidi (51) scored fighting half centuries, but Bangladesh always kept taking wickets before Taskin wrapped up the innings.

Bangladesh, which lost its opening Group B game to Sri Lanka, is the second team to go through to the Super Fours after Pakistan qualified from Group A.

Bangladesh opener Mohammad Naim (28) showed plenty of aggression in the powerplay against wayward Afghanistan bowling after skipper Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and chose to bat first.

Bangladesh scored at around a run-a-ball pace in the first 10 overs before Naim was undone by Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s delivery that knocked back the off stump. Bangladesh’s ploy to send in Towhid Hridoy (0) at No. 3 didn’t work as he was brilliantly snapped by a diving Zadran as the lone slip off seamer Gulbadin Naib.

That brought Mehidy and Najmul together and they dominated the spin trio of Mujeeb (1-62), Rashid Khan (0-66) and Mohammad Nabi (0-50) in the middle overs. The pair shared a decisive 194-run stand.

Mehidy reached his century off 115 balls with a single off a mistimed pull against Naib.

Mehidy retired hurt when he hit a superb inside-out six off Mujeeb for a six, but walked off with cramp in his finger. Najmul raised his century off 101 balls before he was run out when he slipped while going for a run off a reverse sweep against Mujeeb in the 45th over.

Shoriful's brilliant bowling held down Afghanistan in the powerplay as the left-arm quick had dangerman Rahmanullah Gurbaz trapped leg before wicket in his eventful first over.

Gurbaz escaped a close lbw off Shoriful when Bangladesh didn’t go for a referral before he was dismissed in similar fashion in the same over.

Zadran and Rahmat Shah (33) consumed too many deliveries — more than 16 overs — in a 78-run second-wicket stand against some steady Bangladesh bowling.

Mushfiqur Rahim plucked a stunning one-handed catch low to his right to dismiss Zadran in the 37th over and Shahidi followed in the next over when he mistimed a big shot and was caught at third man as Afghanistan lost its last five wickets for 49 runs.

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AP cricket: https://apnews.com/hub/cricket