Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan bowls during the ICC World Twenty20 match against Afghanistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. (AFP Photo)
Bangladesh began their World Twenty20 campaign with an emphatic nine-wicket demolition of Afghanistan while Nepal marked their arrival on the international cricket stage with a massive 80-run win over Hong Kong.
Playing the opening match of the tournament, Bangladesh rode left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan's three wickets for eight runs to skittle Afghanistan out for 72 in 17.1 overs at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium. The meagre total was the second lowest in the World T20 competitions, barely surpassing Ireland's 68 against the West Indies in 2010.
Read: Bangladesh thrash Afghanistan in World T20 opener
Batting mainstay Anamul Haque once again turned in a sparkling performance, putting on 45 for the first wicket with Tamim Iqbal and finishing unbeaten on a 33-ball 44 that was studded with three sixes and four boundaries.
The Afghans had beaten Bangladesh in the preceding Asia Cup one-day tournament, but faltered badly on Sunday to reduce a much-anticipated contest to a one-sided affair.
With just one team going into the Super-10 stage from the preliminary group A that also has debutants Hong Kong and Nepal, the defeat left them facing an early exit.
In the other match of the day, Nepal hammered 149/8 after being sent in to bat and then bowled Hong Kong out for just 69 in 17 overs in the day-night match at Chittagong's Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium.
Read: Nepal rout Hong Kong in clash of World T20 debutants
The win was set up by skipper Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla, who put on 80 for the third wicket after Nepal were reduced to 36-2 in 5.1 overs. Khadka hit a 37-ball 41, while Malla made 48 off 41 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Nepal lost four wickets off the last four deliveries of the innings - two of them run out - which denied them a bigger total.
But even the 150-run target proved too stiff for Hong Kong after the inspirational Khadka had opener Irfan Ahmed caught behind with the first ball of the innings.
The innings was wrecked by Nepal's two left-arm spinners, with Shakti Gauchan claiming three wickets for nine runs and Basant Regmi taking three for 14.
Hong Kong captain Jamie Atkinson said poor batting let his team down.
"I think it was a decent effort to keep them down to 149, but the batting was disappointing," he said. "We need to work harder and show we are a better team than this result indicates."
(With inputs from AFP)