LONDON • Shakib Al Hasan is eyeing a famous upset of India, after his third man-of-the-match performance allowed Bangladesh to consolidate their position as the best-placed outsiders to gatecrash the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.
Afghanistan were thoroughly neutralised, as the all-rounder continued his stellar tournament with 51, five for 29 and a run-out to take his side to a 62-run victory at the Hampshire Bowl on Monday.
The 32-year-old, now the owner of the best bowling figures in the tournament, was the leading run-scorer, on 476, until yesterday's England-Australia match.
"It's very satisfying," he said. "It was important from my perspective and the team's."
Bangladesh, within a point of fourth-placed England in the 10-team table before yesterday's game, play India next Tuesday and Pakistan the following Friday in their final two round-robin matches.
In Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal, they have veterans of the side that famously beat India in 2007 and Shakib, who has played in four Cups, is confident his team can trouble the contenders again.
He said: "They are the top side but we'll give our best shot.
"Experience will help, but experience is not the end of the world. We have to play our best cricket to be able to beat India.
"They got world-class players who can take the matters on their own hand. As I said, we have to be at our best, and I believe that we are a capable enough team."
Not for the first time in the tournament, the story of this match was a comfortably sub-300 total in the first innings proving a surprisingly formidable target.
Bangladesh, who have passed 300 three times in the tournament, got nowhere close to that mark on this occasion - 262-7.
Their innings was underpinned by a solid partnership between Shakib and Mushfiqur, who made 83. But they lost wickets regularly and at one stage went 12 overs without hitting a boundary, resulting in a total that felt vulnerable.
However, Afghanistan, who narrowly failed to chase 225 against India at the same venue on Saturday, never really threatened to get close, in large part due to a masterful spell by Shakib.
Shakib Al Hasan's top-order wicket haul in seven overs destroyed Afghanistan's hopes of a successful chase.
The Bangladeshi is the first player to take five wickets and hit a 50 in a World Cup match since India's Yuvraj Singh against Ireland in 2011.
Bowling with control and subtle variation, his first seven overs cost 10 runs and yielded four top-order wickets as the Afghan batsman perished trying to escape his asphyxiating grip.
He benefited from coming in fresh after his Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad used him in only three matches, where he scored only nine runs and took two wickets. He used the free time to see his childhood mentor, Mohammad Salahuddin, for extra batting sessions in Mumbai.
Asked if the IPL campaign was extra motivation, he said: "I did prepare well, but I never felt I had a point to prove."
After back-to-back tons against England and the West Indies, Shakib became only the second player to take five wickets and hit a 50 in the same Cup match after India's Yuvraj Singh against Ireland in 2011. He also took his wicket haul to 10 in six matches.
Afghanistan, having arrived with some optimism of upsetting the established order and avoiding the wooden spoon, now have lost all their seven games.
Their captain Gulbadin Naib blamed a poor effort in the field. "We missed a couple of catches and we didn't bowl in the right areas in the first 10 overs," he said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON
NEW ZEALAND V PAKISTAN
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