Against Afghanistan in Southampton, Shakib Al Hasan first excelled with the bat, getting to his fifth 50-plus score from six innings at the 2019 World Cup, and then weaved magic with the ball to keep Bangladesh well and truly alive in their semi-final hunt. Richard Whitehead revisits his brilliance in the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
Bangladesh v Afghanistan
Match 31, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
June 24, 2019
There may be no truth in the rumour that Clark Kent dons a Shakib Al Hasan shirt during his downtime in Metropolis, but Shakib continued his run of superhero performances to maintain Bangladesh’s ambitions of gatecrashing the semi-finals.
After hitting his fifth 50-plus score of the competition, he intelligently exploited a helpful pitch to take five for 29, then the best figures of the tournament, and Bangladesh’s first World Cup five-for. Only India’s Yuvraj Singh – against Ireland at Bangalore in 2010-11 – had previously hit a fifty and claimed five in the same World Cup match.
Bangladesh’s cool professionalism contrasted sharply with a disappointing Afghanistan display. Captain Gulbadin Naib rued his team’s shoddy fielding, and his bowlers’ inability to locate the right lengths, but their malaise ran deeper: they looked like a side waking up to the realities of international sport. Put in on a used pitch, Bangladesh had proceeded unhurriedly towards a total they calculated would be out of reach, though Mujeeb Zadran – opening the bowling with his off-breaks – kept things tight.
Mushfiqur Rahim continued his good form with 83 from 87 balls, and later completed two stumpings. Afghanistan negotiated the first powerplay without mishap, then foundered against Shakib: after seven overs, he had four for ten. Samiullah Shenwari’s attractive unbeaten 49 off 51 raised questions about why this was his first game of the tournament.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack