Can Shakib reach his milestone Wednesday?

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Bangladesh relies on Shakib Al Hasan, their ace cricketer to hit back in the five-match series after a morale-shattering defeat in the third game that the Kiwis won by a thumping 52-run, bowling them out for their joint second-lowest ever T20 International score of 76.

The slow surface though suited to Bangladesh’s strength, the Kiwis, who sent a team full of youth and inexperienced players for this tour, dominated the hosts in surprising fashion.

The visitors indeed showed their quick learning capability in the second game, when they almost won the game but were denied by a brilliant over of Mustafizur Rahman to lose the game by four runs.

Bangladesh who also won the first game by seven wickets, bundling out Kiwis for their lowest ever T20 score of 60, indeed was favourite to win the third and thereby confirm their first series victory over the visitors in this format.

But now they are in danger of losing the series, given the way Kiwis bounced back in emphatic fashion.

The main problem of Bangladesh was the off form of Shakib Al Hasan in the third game. Standing on the brink of being the first player to score 12000 runs and claim 600 wickets simultaneously and also being the highest wicket-taker in T20 International cricket, going past Lasith Malinga’s 107 wickets, Shakib was surprisingly off-colour. Shakib needed just two wickets to reach those two milestones. But he went wicket-less in the last match, was dismissed for a duck and also missed a catch. Shakib’s performance is needed to help the team get back on track.

Shakib who was man of the series in the 4-1 victory over Australia in the last month has the reputation of turning things around after a bad performance. Basically this is what made Bangladesh hopeful.

In the fourth game against Australia, which Bangladesh lost, Shakib recorded his worst bowling figure in T20 International cricket. He gave away 50 runs, including five sixes in an over at the hands of Dan Christian.

When the critics lashed at him for this performance, he hit back in the next game and registered a bowling figure of 4-0-9-4 to bowl out Australia for their lowest ever score of 62 and helped Bangladesh win the game by 60 runs.

Therefore Shakib’s performance is important not only to reach his milestone quickly but also to help Bangladesh win the series before the final and fifth game.