Shanto, Miraz ton propels Bangladesh to 334-5

Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Najmul Hossain Shanto hitcenturies as Bangladesh racked up a respectable 334-5 in their ‘do or die’Asia Cup clash against Afghanistan at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore today.This was the Tigers’ third highest total in ODI cricket behind 349-6 and 338-8, both of which they put up against IrelandMiraz, who was sent to opening position as part of the strategic team plan,repaid the faith, with career-best 112 off 119-his second century plus knocklaced with seven fours and three sixes.Shanto continued his rich vein of form, also hitting his second ton as hestruck 105 ball-104, smashing nine fours and two sixes.They combined for a 194-run partnership, second highest for Bangladesh inthird wicket, which only was broken after Miraz got retired hurt.They built the partnership to set the tune at a moment when Bangladesh werereduced to 63-2 in 11th over in a docile pitch.Naim Sheikh got a decent start after captain Shakib Al Hasan chose to batfirst but failed to read a googly of Mujeeb Ur Rahman to be out for 28.Towhid Hridoy, promoted to No.3, was out for his first duck in his career,leaving the onus on Miraz and Shanto, who responded brilliantly.Their strategy to bat with caution and aggression served them well asBangladesh found the impetus which was missing in the game against Sri Lanka.Both Shanto and Miraz paid a due respect to Rashid Khan in another strategicmove.As they got their eye in, both came out from the shell, unleashing somepowerful shots against Afghan bowlers including Rashid Khan as Bangladeshmoved towards 300-run mark.Miraz’s retire apparently was a distraction but Bangladesh did well to combatit. However what hurt Bangladesh was the three run outs dismissals whichstarted with Shanto’s dismissal, shortly after he reached his century.Mushfiqur Rahim who looked in superb touch was also trapped run out afterscoring 25 off 15.Skipper Shakib Al Hasan then led the charge, hitting 18 ball-32 not out asBangladesh posted a total that unarguably could make them happier through thehalfway mark of the match.

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