Mushfiqur Rahim steered Bangladesh to 262 for seven as they looked to keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals by beating Afghanistan at the Hampshire Bowl.

The diminutive batsman followed up his unbeaten century against Australia last week with an industrious 83 from 87 balls in an innings containing only four fours and one six but plenty of running on a tricky surface.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the pick of Afghanistan’s attack with three for 39, including the prize wicket of Shakib Al Hasan, whose 51 was the fifth time he has gone past a half-century in six tournament knocks.

Bangladesh, however, negotiated the threat of Rashid Khan with little alarm on a pitch that had been used 48 hours previously, when Afghanistan narrowly failed to pull off a major upset against India.

If they are to break their World Cup duck, they will have to post their highest total of the tournament.

After inviting Bangladesh to bat first they made an early breakthrough when Liton Das drove Mujeeb uppishly to short cover, where Hashmatullah Shahidi just about got his fingers underneath the ground.

A number of replays could not persuade third umpire Aleem Dar there was enough evidence to overturn the soft signal of out so Liton, who replaced Soumya Sarkar at the top of the order, had to walk.

Tamim Iqbal and Shakib were watchful, particularly against the turners, before the former was bowled for 36 after backing away and missing an attempted cut from one that kept going straight from Mohammad Nabi.

From the very next ball, Shakib successfully overturned an lbw verdict against him off Rashid, ball-tracking ruling it would have gone over the top of the stumps.

There were few big hits but Shakib still went to his fifty in an innings where he leapfrogged Australia’s David Warner at the top of the run-scoring charts.

However, he was dismissed soon after by Mujeeb’s carrom ball, beaten on the inside edge, while a similar delivery from the young turner accounted for Soumya.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman, centre, impressed for Afghanistan (Adam Davy/PA)
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, centre, impressed for Afghanistan (Adam Davy/PA)

Mushfiqur held the innings together, putting on a useful 56 with Mahmudullah, who required treatment on his right calf, which was strapped, early into his innings.

Perhaps sensing a need to accelerate, Mushfiqur came out of his crease and thumped Dawlat Zadran for the first six of the innings over long-on, a shot that took him to a 56-ball half-century.

He unselfishly allowed Mosaddek Hossain more of the strike as the innings wound to a close. Mosaddek contributed what could be an important 35 from 24 balls, aided sslightly by some poor ground fielding from Bangladesh.

Mushfiqur departed in the penultimate over, with a backpedalling Nabi taking a high catch at cover off Dawlat but the Bangladesh batsman’s efforts helped his side to what looks at least a competitive total.