Stanikzai, Nabi partnership proves crucial for Afghanistan

Afghanistan withstood a nervy ending to defeat Bangladesh by two wickets with just two balls remaining and level their three-match one-day international series at 1-1 on Wednesday.

Debutant Mosaddek Hossain was Bangladesh's top scorer with 45 in their 208 all out and continued a dream bow with a wicket from his first ball in ODI cricket to dismiss Hashmatullah Shahidi in Mirpur.

But Asghar Stanikzai (57) played a brilliant captain's innings and his stand of 107 with Mohammad Nabi (49) proved crucial as Afghanistan reached their target despite Bangladesh slowing down their lower order in the closing overs.

Bangladesh were ticking along nicely at 45-0 before Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar (both 20) fell in quick succession.

A third-wicket stand of 61 between Mahmudullah (25) and Mushfiqur Rahim (38) lifted the hosts, but the loss of four wickets for 30 runs halted their momentum - Mosaddek's knock, which included four fours and two sixes, helping to lift them beyond 200.

Shakib Al Hasan (4-47) tore through Afghanistan's top order to leave the visitors reeling at 63-4 and staring down the barrel of a series defeat.

But Stanikzai and Nabi restored calm and frustrated the hosts' attack, the former playing a measured innings in which he faced 95 balls, while the latter was more attacking and scored three fours and two sixes in the 61 deliveries he faced.

Stanikzai's dismissal left Afghanistan on 174-6 in the 41st over, and it took them until the third-last ball to limp over the line with Dawlat Zadran securing the win with a four.

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