Wrist-spinner Rashid Khan reflected on what turned out be another wonderful day for him and Afghanistan Cricket, as his fantastic all-round performance in the Group B Asia Cup 2018 encounter against Bangladesh, played a decisive role in ensuring another win for his side.
Coming into bat at 160-7 in the first innings at Abu Dhabi, Rashid played an oustanding counter-attacking knock of 57 not out from just 32 balls, and along with Gulbadin Naib, who made 42 from 38, took Afghanistan to a very competitive score of 255 in the allotted 50 overs.
Even with the ball, Rashid simply befuddled the Bangladeshi middle-order and finished off a 119-run victory for his team after clinching fantastic match figures of 9-3-13-2.
Rashid celebrated his 20th birthday, with astonishing returns on the field and stamped his authority as the best limited overs spinner in the world.
Speaking about the amazing day, Rashid, having received the man of the match award, at the post-match presentation ceremony said, "It was a special day for me and I am really happy as I contributed in batting, bowling and fielding, 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," he added.
In what has been quite surprisingly happening for a while, Rashid starts off late in the bowling effort. There has been criticism of the rigidity of this move from captain Asghar Afghan as well.
But Rashid cleared, "I come late to bowl because I can bowl dot balls and put the pressure on the batsmen, I think the wicket changes behaviour here every match so we look to stay positive in our approach." and further expressed, "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."
Also after the match, Asghar Afghan praised his team for their commendable effort and said, "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." adding, "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."
Bangladeshi Captain Mashrafe Mortaza also reflected on his team's eventually depressing loss, by saying, "I think Afghanistan outplayed us from the 40th over in the first innings, 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."
He further reiterated the need for improvement and turning up well against India in the first Super 4s game on Friday, September 21 and said, "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 won the group B by two dominating wins over Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and they now play their first Super 4 match against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on September 21 as well.
(Inputs from Cricket Next)