There was to be no fairytale for Afghanistan on their World Cup bow today as they went down to a 105 run defeat to Bangladesh, the team they beat in the Asia Cup almost 12 months ago, in what was the first full member v associate ODI in Australia since the 1992 World Cup.
Batting first after winning the toss, Bangladesh started with an opening partnership of 47 before two quick wickets from Mirwais Asraf pegged them back. A 50 run partnership for the third wicket got their innings going again, but Shapoor Zadran struck twice in quick succession to leave them on 119-4 in the third over.
At that stage you'd have said that Afghanistan were on top, but the wheels began to come off for the World Cup debutants. The talented leg spinner Samiullah Shenwari was removed from the attack after just seven deliveries after failing to heed a warning for running on the pitch, and then Shakib Al Hasan and Musfiqur Rahim began to take the game away from them.
Afghanistan's inexperience with the Decision Review System perhaps explains why they didn't review a seemingly obvious LBW decision in the 41st over with the score on 192-4, but that doesn't explain why Nabi failed to bring Shapoor Zadran back into the attack after his seven overs went for just 22 runs.
Al Hasan and Rahim proceeded to put on 114 for the fifth wicket, taking the score to 233 before Al Hasan was out for 63. Rahim scored 71 from 56 balls before he was out. Afghanistan did manage to prevent Bangladesh from running away with things in the final few overs, but the Bangladesh total of 267 was likely to be a tough chase for a side that often collapses when chasing big totals.
The Afghan reply got off to a disastrous start as the first three wickets fell for just three runs inside the first three overs. Nawroz Mangal and Samiullah Shenwari set about rebuilding the innings with a partnership of 62 for the fourth wicket, but truth be told, Afghanistan were already well out of the game.
Mohammad Nabi - who top scored with 44 - and Najibullah Zadran put on 58 for the sixth wicket, but when they fell in successive deliveries, any hope Afghanistan had vanished. They were bowled out for 162 to lose by 105 runs. Their next match will be against Sri Lanka in Dunedin on Sunday.
Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 105 runs
Manuka Oval, Canberra, 18 February 2015
Bangladesh 267 (50 overs, Mushfiqur Rahim 71, Sakib Al Hasan 63)
Afghanistan 162 (42.5 overs, Mohammad Nabi 44, Samiullah Shenwari 42, Mashrafe Mortaza 3-20)