Bangladesh caught Australia in spin-web to clinch a 23-run victory in the opening game of the five-match T20 Internationals today at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed led the charge with his career-best 4-19 and his performance was key in helping the side achieve its first victory against Aussie in this format.
Thanks to Nasum, Bangladesh defended a moderate 131-7, wrapping up Australia’s innings for 108 in 20 overs. It was Australia’s lowest total against Bangladesh in this format.
Nasum was complemented by two-wicket haul from left-arm pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful and one-wicket apiece from spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan.
Failing to deal with the spinners cost Australia the game. Mitchell Marsh who struck three half-centuries in five-match series against West Indies, was the only Aussie batsman to come up with some resistance. He made run-a-ball-45 before being out as the sixth batsman.
The combination of Nasum, Shakib and Mahedi left Australia 11-3 in just third over with Mahedi breaking through in the first ball, dismissing Alex Carey for duck.
Nasum had Josh Philippe stumped for 9 and Shakib accounted Moises Henriques (1) before Marsh started his resistance.
With Shakib and Mahedi denying Australian batsmen to keep the runs flowing, Nasum ripped through the middle order in a gem of spin bowling.
Marsh kept the Aussies hope alive with calculated aggression. He grew with confidence after hitting Shakib a six.
But Nasum Ahmed claimed the prized wicket of Marsh in his last over when he went for a slog-sweep.
Marsh’s dismissal effectively ended Australia’s chance to win the game. Mustafizur and Shoriful then took care of Australia’s lower order.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s positive start was undermined by the batsmen’s reckless shot against the world class bowling attack after they were asked to bat first.
Shakib Al Hasan top-scored with 36 off 33, hitting three fours and opener Naim Sheikh struck 29 ball-30, clobbering two fours and as many sixes. Afif Hossain was the other notable scorer with 16 ball-23 not out with three fours.
Naim Sheikh flicked Australia’s speedster Mitchell Starc for a six over mid-wicket with a cracking shot in just second ball of the innings, giving the fans an occasion to exalt.
But Australia bowlers regrouped well to impose an extreme pressure, which was tough for Bangladeshi batsmen to swallow.
While Australia bowlers executed their plan well, Bangladesh batsmen failed to keep the scoreboard flowing as they played out 47 dot balls.
Starc’s new ball partner Josh Hazlewood broke through with the wicket of Soumya Sarkar (2) and thereafter Naim Sheikh who looked set in the crease played a reckless shot to be bowled out by leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
Shakib and captain Mahmudullah played with caution but failed to rotate the scoreboard rapidly. Hazlewood broke the partnership, dismissing Mahmudullah for run-a-ball-20 with a knuckle ball.
Hazelwood also took the crucial wicket of Shakib Al Hasan when he appeared set to pace the scoreboard.
Starc then took the care of lower order batsmen but Afif Hossain held one end strongly to help the side go past 130.
Hazlewood was the most successful bowler for Australia with 3-24 while Starc claimed 2-33. Zampa and Andrew Tye took one wicket apiece. -BSS