Bangladesh don’t have Shakib Al Hasan in their ranks for the T20I series versus India. However, the Tigers strained every sinew in the opening match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi. In the end, Mahmudullah and Co broke their eight-match losing streak over the Men in Blue. They won by seven wickets. The skipper fittingly finished the encounter off with a six over the deep mid-wicket region.
Dhawan top-scores in tough conditions
Mahmudullah won the toss to start with and put the hosts to bat first. It didn’t backfire completely as India managed 148. Shafiul Islam removed skipper Rohit with a slower ball. Shikhar Dhawan (41) and KL Rahul (15) found the boundary occasionally, but couldn’t break free. 19-year-old Aminul Islam Biplob removed Rahul to break the stand. Shreyas Iyer (22) threatened for a brief while.
Biplob got rid of him and pulled the Tigers back into the game. Dhawan got involved in a mix-up with Rishabh Pant that led to his run-out. Pant strained to find his feet, scoring a 26-ball 27 with three fours. In the last two overs, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar combined to score 30 runs. Shivam Dube fell prey to Afif Hossain after scoring only a single. Shafiul Islam picked two wickets.
Mushfiqur Rahim steps up big time
The run-chase didn’t start on a happy note for Bangladesh. Deepak Chahar pinned Liton Das to strike first blood. Mohammad Naim (26) on debut had his travails. But he hit two sixes and a four before throwing his wicket away to spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. The onus was then on Soumya Sarkar (39) and the very experienced Mushfiqur Rahim (60) to steady the ship for the Tigers and get them close.
The duo kept the scoreboard moving with singles and doubles. Their 50-partnership was raised in 48 balls, and though it didn’t put Bangladesh on the driver’s seat, it kept the visitors in the game. Khaleel Ahmed castled Sarkar to separate the duo. In the penultimate over, Mushfiqur hit Khaleel for four consecutive fours to make the game one-sided and made it a historic moment for Tigers.
Rohit Sharma, the Indian skipper, said
Not to take credit away from Bangladesh. They put us under pressure right from the start when we were batting. It was a defendable score, and we made mistakes on the field. The guys are a bit inexperienced, and they can learn from that, perhaps not make them the next time.
The reviews were a mistake from our side, not to talk about it at least, and the first ball he played on the backfoot, we thought it was going down leg, and the next one on the frontfoot, but we forgot how short he is! We weren’t upto the mark on the field, but batting-wise I think we put up a competitive score.
Chahal was always welcome into this format. He’s crucial to this team, and he showed how important he is in the middle overs, when the batsmen are set. He completely understands what he needs to execute, and that makes it a little easier for the captain as well.
Mahmudullah Riyad, the Bangladesh skipper, said
I think it was all based on how we started. The bowlers did a great job, everyone chipped in. I think we fielded really well and that gave us momentum going into our batting. I think captaincy is made easy because of the boys who have performed really well. I know the Fizz is one of our key bowlers but I think the other bowlers were needed according to the conditions. Mushy was really good and Soumya had a good partnership with him. I think Naim deserves a mention as well. He played really well on debut.
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Player of the Match, said
When we were playing in front of a huge crowd, and when the team needs it, nothing like playing an innings like that. Nothing like beating India in India, so this means a lot to me. Soumya and I had a chat, and we thought of dragging the game deep, and any of the quicks could have been targeted for 15-20 in an over because the spinners got a lot of assistance so it was hard to hit them. Naim also played really well at the start. I’m trying my best to evolve as a cricketer, and I will try to perform in each and every game for Bangladesh.