Showing an unwavering resolve, Bangladesh overcame an adverse situation to snatch a five-wicket victory against Australia in the second T20 International and went up 2-0 in the five-match series at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium today.
Bangladesh who won the first game by 23 runs, were left in precarious 67-5 while chasing 122 but Afif Hossain and Nurul Hasan Sohan put on 56 off 44 for an undefeated sixth wicket stand to help the side sail home with eight balls remaining.
Both of the young players showed their boldness in the crunch moment to leave the Aussies in surprising state.
Afif Hossain who finished game with a boundary through third man was unbeaten on 37 off 31, hitting five fours and one six. Nurul Hasan was on 22. Australian bowlers ruled the game before they snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat.
Fast bowler Mitchell Starc and his new ball partner Josh Hazlewood removed Bangladesh’s openers Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Naim in fourth over, keeping the Aussie hopes of leveling the series alive.
But Shakib Al Hasan hit Starc three boundaries in a row to release the pressure. With Shakib playing aggressively, Bangladesh looked set for an effortless victory.
Australia in contrast looked determined. Andrew Tye undid Shakib (26) with a slower delivery to help the side claw back into the game again.
The Aussies then took a firm grip on the match when left-arm spinner Ashton Agar removed captain Mahmudullah for 0 and leg-spinner Adam Zampa got rid of Mahedi Hasan for 23.
But Afif and Hasan played with caution and aggression to deny Australia the victory. Earlier, fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman claimed three wickets for 23 as Australia were restricted to a below par 121-7.
Mustafizur, adorably called as the Fizz, confounded the Australian batsmen with slower and cutters to deny them making carnage towards the death. He was ably supported by fellow paceman Shoriful Islam’s 2-27. Shakib Al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan took one wicket apiece.
Mitchell Marsh was the top-scorer for the Aussie again with 42 ball-45, sending the ball across the ropes for five times.
Thanks to Marsh, Australia were in position to dominate Bangladesh in the death overs but Mustafizur’s decisive bowling tame them and kept the target in sight.
Australia who elected to bat first made a positive start with Alex Carey reverse-sweeping first game hero Nasum Ahmed twice for boundaries in the second over.
Offspinner Mahedi Hasan broke through with the wicket of Carey (11) and Mustafizur Rahman outfoxed Josh Philippe with a slower for 10, leaving Australia 31-2 in the first powerplay.
But Marsh, promoted to No.3, stabilized the innings alongside Moises Henriques. They put on 57 off 52 for the third wicket, playing with caution and aggression in a pitch that was not ideal for stroke-making.
Shakib Al Hasan broke the partnership, dismissing Henriques with an arm-ball after he struck 30 off 25 with three fours and one six.
Fast bowler Shoriful Islam then provided the biggest breakthrough, taking the crucial wicket of Marsh. But Australia by then were placed in good position.
Nevertheless they failed to cash in and Mustafizur was the wrecker-in-chief. He got the better of captain Matthew Wade and Ashton Agar in consecutive deliveries with slower to ruin Australia’s chance
to capitalize on the platform set by Marsh.
Australia however couldn’t recover from that jolt as they made 31 off the last five overs, losing four wickets. It made the eventual difference indeed. The third match is on Friday.