Nabi’s experience shines through

SPORT

It was a perfect start from Bangladesh in the third game of the T20I tri-series series when pacer Mohammad Saifuddin started with a gem of delivery and bowled the Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gulbaz with the first ball of the match.
The ball pitched on middle stump and swung sharply away from the right-hander, who had no clue whatsoever as the ball went on to hit timber. The Tigers held on to the momentum picked three more wickets in quick succession as Afghanistan were reeling on 40 for four at the end of the six Powerplay overs.

Saifuddin managed to continue his brilliant start and remained the only highlight for the Tigers with the ball, bowling a tight line and length that kept the Afghan batsmen quite.

But Afghanistan proved why T20s are their favoured format and from a tough situation they managed to take complete control of the game as soon, it was raining sixes from the willows of the experienced Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan.
Nabi was unbeaten on a magnificent 54-ball 84 while Afghan was dismissed after a well-made 40 as Afghanistan managed to post a challenging total of 164 for six in 20 overs.



Sixes and fours may have been the most eye-catching aspect of the latter half of Afghanistan’s innings but the calm approach of Nabi initially was crucial. He brought all his experience into play and showed that it was not just about hitting sixes and fours in the shortest format of the game.

The experienced cricketer took his time and at one point was batting on six off 12 deliveries, but he made sure to keep the scoreboard ticking with singles every now and then which released the pressure from Afghan at the other end.
It did not take long for Nabi to go up a gear as he smashed the first of seven sixes against left-arm spinner Taijul Islam to start the rampage over the Bangladesh bowlers.



Although Afghan was dismissed after a crucial 79-run fifth-wicket stand, Nabi made sure to utilise his experience and time spent at the crease in brilliant fashion, helping his side to a fighting total.
He was keen to stay till the end, smashing Soumya Sarkar for 22 runs in the 18th over and went on to add 42 runs in the last three overs. It was a display of the value of experience, even in the shortest format of the game which for many is just about having a go right from the start.

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