Both associates on the ODI ranking table were in ODI action today, and whilst Ireland were heavily beaten by South Africa, Afghanistan had a closer encounter with Bangladesh in Mirpur in what was the first ODI of the year for the home side.
The hosts won the toss and chose to bat first. They lost Soumya Sarkar for a duck in the first over, before Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes put on 83 for the second wicket. That partnership ended when Mohammad Nabi bowled Kayes for 37. Iqbal and Mahmudullah then looked like taking the game away from Afghanistan with a 79 run third wicket partnership.
After Iqbal was out for 80, the only other Bangladeshi to make a significant contribution was Shakib Al Hasan with 48, as Bangladesh reached 265 before they lost their final wicket from the last ball of their fiftieth over. Dawlat Zadran was the pick of the Afghan bowlers with 4-73.
The Afghan run chase began with a typically fast paced and short innings from Mohammad Shahzad, who clubbed 31 from 21 balls before he edged to keeper Mushfiqur Rahim. Opening partner Shabir Noori was trapped lbw in the next over and Afghanistan were on 46-2 in the eighth over.
Rahmat Shah and Hashmatullah Shahidi put on 144 for the third wicket, scoring 71 and 72 respectively, but took 32 overs to do it, meaning that Afghanistan needed 68 from the last ten overs. They were unable to get the runs, but got close and were bowled out for 258 from the final ball of their innings, losing by seven runs.
The teams will meet in the second of three ODIs on Wednesday in Dhaka.
Bangladesh beat Afghanistan by 7 runs
Sheer Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Bangladesh 265 (50 overs, Tamim Iqbal 80, Mahmudullah 62, Shakib Al Hasan 48, Dawlat Zadran 4-73)
Afghanistan 258 (50 overs, Hashmatullah Shahidi 72, Rahmat Shah 71, Taskin Ahmed 4-59)