Mehidy blitz snatches victory for Tigers from jaws of defeat

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Mehidy Hasan Miraz helped Bangladesh snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat by holding his nerve unbelievably as the Tigers secure a thrilling one-wicket victory against India in the first ODI at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here today.

With just one wicket at hand and 51 runs needing for an unlikely win, he struck a brilliant 39-ball 38 not out with four fours and two sixes and with the help of No. 11 batter Mustafizur Rahman guided Bangladesh home unbelievably.

Mustafizur also overcame a nervy moment to remain unbeaten on 10 as Bangladesh reached the winning target of 187-9 in 46 overs.

It was Bangladesh’s second 50 plus runs partnership for the 10th wicket but the first one that earned a victory.

Mehidy, however, survived on 15 when wicket-keeper KL Rahul put down an easy catch as Bangladesh was still 32 runs away from the victory. That miss eventually proved costly for India as Bangladesh took 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Mehidy’s match-winning knock from the jaws of defeat put a shed on Shakib Al Hasan’s tremendous bowling performance. The left-arm spinner was key in bowling India out for 186 in 41.2 overs, claiming 5-36.

But with limited total on board, India hit back into the match, thanks to a disciplined bowling of their bowlers.

Fast bowler Deepak Chahar gave the side a breakthrough in the first ball, dismissing opener Najmul Hossain Shanto for duck.

Skipper Liton Das and Anamul Haque Bijoy appeared to recover before another pacer Mohammed Siraj got into act by removing the latter for 14. Offspinner Washington Sundar, 2-17, pegged back Bangladesh further, getting rid of Liton after he scored team’s highest 41 and Shakib (29).

Siraj (3-32) and debutant Kuldeep Sen (2-37) then ripped through Bangladesh’s middle order in gem of pace bowling. Another pacer Shardul Thakur played a key role in slowing down Bangladesh, returning figures of 1-21.

However Mehidy came up with stubborn resistance as India sniffed a victory. He showed a never-say-die attitude when even a die-hard fan of Bangladesh gave the hopes of a victory.

After surviving on 15, he launched spectacular attack on Kuldeep, hitting him two sixes in the space of three balls to reverse the pressure on India. The he came hard on Chahar and scored 15 runs from his over including three fours to edge Bangladesh closer. India lost the momentum as Mehidy confirmed the side’s victory, driving Chahar through cover for a single.

Earlier, pace bowler Ebadot Hossain complemented Shakib’s 5-36 with his career-best 4-47, extending the agony of Indian batters who looked out of sort and jaded against the ruthless approach of Bangladeshi bowlers.

KL Rahul fought hard and was instrumental in helping the side propel past at least 150-run mark with his 70 balll-73, studded with five fours and four sixes. Rahul’s knock proved the wicket was not entirely unforgiving but the Indian batters found it tough to negotiate Shakib Al Hasan who was almost unplayable in his first spell.

After being sent to bat first, India openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan looked shaky against spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraj who broke through with the wicket of Dhawan (7).

Celebrated pair Rohit and Virat Kohli then saw off the first powerplay without any fuss after which Shakib was introduced.

And the left-arm spinner got immediate success. In his first delivery, he undid Rohit with an unplayable arm-ball that rattled the stump as Rohit was out for 27.

In the fourth ball, Shakib got the prized scalp of Virat Kohli who looked at his sublime touch. But the credit should go to skipper Liton Das who pulled off a stunner to remove Kohli for 9.

With 49-3, India was on back foot but in form Shreyas Iyer and Rahul gave them a hope to hit back.

Ebadot Hossain has the other plan. His strategy to undo India with a barrage of short balls finally worked when Iyer top-edged to be out of 24, ending a 44-run partnership with Rahul.

India’s innings after that could never gain the momentum as Shakib and Ebadot continued their good work to force India loss wickets at regular interval.

Rahul though played exceptionally well and gave India glimmer of hope to go past 200 but that was not to be as he was also victimized by a vicious short ball of Ebadot to be out as ninth batter.

Before that Shakib took the wicket of Shardul Thakur to complete his fourth five-for in ODI cricket.