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Tigers create history as Australia are left with no answers

With three consecutive victories, Bangladesh won their first-ever bilateral series against Australia with two matches still to play, with a 10-run win in Friday’s 3rd T20I in Mirpur.

Australia needed to score 22 runs off the last six balls bowled by Mahedi Hasan, but they only managed 11. Alex Carey smashed a six off the first ball of the last over, but they couldn’t continue on that. But the win was really set up by some outstanding bowling from Mustafizur Rahman in the previous over, when with Australia needing 23 off 2 overs to get back in the series, The Fizz conceded just a single run, bamboozling the batsmen with his clever variations and significantly taking the pressure off Mahedi for the last over.

It was another exceptional performance with the ball by Mustafiz – his previous over, the 17th of the Australian innings, had also gone for just 4 runs. He ended with figures of 0/9 off his 4 overs – 15 dot balls and 9 singles. And even then he was unlucky, as he should have had the wicket of Ben McDermott, drafted in to open the batting for the visitors today, but Shoriful Islam dropped a dolly at deep fine leg.

Earlier, Bangladesh won the toss and opted to bat first and scored 127 for nine wickets in 20 overs. Once again it was tough going for the batsmen in Mirpur, where the pitches have not allowed the ball to come on to the bat throughout the series. The Tigers innings was held together by a sensible half-century from captain Mahmudullah, after once again the opening pair failed to deliver a decent start.

In reply, Australia made a good start despite losing their first wicket early on, with Nasum Ahmed striking in his first over once again to remove Matthew Wade for one.

That brought in Mitch Marsh, the visitors’ only in form batsman, and he and McDermott proceeded to steady the ship with a second wicket-stand of 63 runs. When Shoriful dropped the opener, it looked like it wasn’t going to be the Tigers’ day, and we would have to wait at least another day to savour a series victory.

But in the very next over, Shakib Al Hasan, the big match player, gave Bangladesh a whiff, sending McDermott back to the pavilion bowled for 35, in the 14th over of the innings, at the end of which Australia needed 54 off 6 overs. Shoriful made up for his earlier error by getting rid of Henriques in the very next over, and the Tigers were well and truly in business at that point.

Smelling their opportunity, the Tigers never lost track again.

When Australia needed 34 off 3 overs, Shoriful Islam removed Mitchell Marsh for 51. A superb slow-delivery did the trick for the tall left-arm pacer. Marsh lifted to the long-on area, and Mohammad Naim came in to take an easy catch. Marsh’s dismissal came as a big blow for Australia.

Eventually, Australia ended up on 117 for four wickets in 20 overs.

Apart from Mustafiz, who has been nearly unplayable all week and should be a strong contender for player of the series, Shoriful took 2/29 off his four overs, while Nasum Ahmed took 1/19 and Shakib 1/22 off their full complement of overs.

Before this series, Bangladesh had never won a T20I match against the Aussies, never won a series, nor even two games in any one format of the game.

Batting first, Bangladesh failed to lay a good foundation as both the openers were dismissed inside 2.1 overs.

Mohammad Naim, who did well in the first match, fell prey to Josh Hazlewood for one. Soumya Sarkar failed to come out of his batting woes once again as he fell for two.

In the third wicket stand, Mahmudullah Riyad and Shakib Al Hasan added 44 of 36 balls. Smashing Mitchell Marsh for two consecutive fours, Shakib was suggesting to play a big innings but failed to continue on a good run.

Off the first ball of the ninth over by Adam Zampa, Shakib lifted the ball over the long-off area, and Ashton Agar took an easy catch.

After Shakib’s dismissal, Afif Hossain came in and scored 19 off 13 balls with one four and one six. But once again, Afif failed to continue on a good run what he did in the second match of the series. He dismissed run-out in this match.

Shamim Hossain, Nurul Hasan Sohan and Mahedi Hasan also failed to do well with the bat.

For Australia, Nathan Ellis took three wickets while Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa took two wickets each.

The fourth and fifth matches of the series will take place on August 7 and nine at the same venue.

Source: United News of Bangladesh