Shakib, Naim keep Tigers World Cup hope alive

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Shakib Al Hasan came up with a brilliant allround performance when it mattered most as Bangladesh kept their hope of reaching the Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 alive securing a 26-run win over co-hosts Oman at Al Amerat Cricket Ground in Muscat, Oman on Tuesday.

After hitting a 29 ball-42 and sharing a decisive 80-run partnership with Naim Sheikh for the third wicket stand following a mini collapse, he also jeopardized a spirited Oman with 3-28 in four overs which was instrumental in Tigers victory in a must win game. Bangladesh lost their first game to Scotland by six runs.

Naim Sheikh who replaced Soumya Sarkar at the top of the batting order, hit 50 ball-64 to play a key role alongside Shakib as Bangladesh racked up 153 before being all out for 153 in 20 overs. Led by Shakib Al Hasan, the bowlers bowled in a disciplined way to restrict Oman to 127-9.

After opting to bat first, Bangladesh made a disastrous start again, being reduced to 21-2, which raised a prospect of a below par total.

But Naim Sheikh and Shakib batted with caution and aggression to keep Bangladesh’s nose in front.

Opener Liton Das continued his bad patch, being out by a yorker delivery of Bilal Khan after which Mahedi Hasan who was sent to pace the innings, got himself out, playing an ambitious shot.

Naim and Shakib started the repairing job watchfully, knowing that a defeat in this match would shatter their World Cup hope. They however accelerated the innings in a brilliant fashion. But as Shakib looked to hit the top gear after hitting six boundaries in his 42 off 29, he was trapped run out by a brilliant throw of Aqib Illyas, giving Oman a chance to get back into the game.

Naim ensured that Oman couldn’t dominate the proceedings as he kept the scoreboard rotating smartly and raised his third T20 half-century with a boundary of Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood off 43 balls.

But the wicket started falling as the Bangladeshi batters played reckless shot instead of taking calculative risk in a bid to put on a healthy total on the board.

After playing brilliantly, Naim Sheikh finally was undone by Kaleemullah’s bouncer to be out on 64 off 50, an innings studded by three fours and four sixes.

Naim’s dismissal in the last powerplay put Bangladesh in cornered state but skipper Mahmudullah’s 10 ball-17 ensured they would go past 150.

In fact apart from Naim, Shakib and Mahmudullah, no Bangladeshi batters could reach double digit figure.

Fayyaz Butt and Bilam Khan was the most successful bowler for Oman with three wickets apiece while Kaleemullah snapped up two wickets. Mustafizur Rahman gave Bangladesh an early breakthrough, dismissing Aqib Illyas (6) via leg-before in the second over as Oman started chasing the target of 154.