Mustafizur leads Bangladesh to thrilling victory

Bangladesh overcame an Ireland scare to achieve a thrilling four-run victory in the third and final ODI to take the series 2-0 at County Ground in Chelmsford, England today. Pacer Mustafizur Rahman bowled excellently to claim 4-44 in his comeback outing.

The first game was called off due to rain, but Bangladesh won the second ODI by three wickets.

Bangladesh were bowled out for 274 in 48.5 overs but held their nerve to defend, limiting Ireland to 270-9. By doing so, Bangladesh maintained its record of not losing an ODI to Ireland since 2010.

But Ireland were once again on the verge of triumph, owing to a thunderous top-order batting performance led by Paul Striling’s 60. Lorcan Tucker had 50 points and captain Andrew Balbirnie had 53. Harry Tector, who had a century the night before, added 45.

Mustafizur broke through with the wicket of Stephen Doheny, but Stirling and Balbrinie collaborated for 109 runs for the second wicket to keep Ireland’s hopes alive.

Fast bowler Ebadot Hossain caught Balbirnie by Rony Talukder to stop the dangerous partnership before Mehidy Hasan Miraz bowled Stirling, who hit four fours and two sixes in his knock.

Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker persevered further, accumulating 79 runs for the fourth wicket as Ireland appeared to be closing in on victory.

Najmul Hossain Shanto’s occasional spin dismissed Tector to give Bangladesh a key breakthrough, and Mustafizur subsequently came into his own.

Mustafizur, who had been overlooked in the first two encounters, got three wickets in his next three overs at a stretch to rattle Ireland’s batting line-up.

Ireland was never able to recover from the humiliating defeat. Hasan Mahmud grabbed 2-44 to provide an excellent counterpoint for Mustafizur.

Earlier skipper Tamim Iqbal finally hit a half-century after nine matches as Bangladesh posted a total not looked daunting.

Bangladesh were on course of a 300 plus total but tasted a sensational collapse that saw them losing five wickets for 13 runs toward the end to be wrapped up with seven balls still to play.

Tamim who survived on just 1 after his opposite number Andrew Balbirnie put down a regulation catch at second slip off fast bowler Jos Little in the third over of finally made 69 off 82, hitting six fours.

Most of the Bangladeshi batters found their but simply failed to capitalize, a reason that resisted their chance to go past 300-run mark.

Mushfiqur Rahim made 45 off 54 with three fours and one six while Najmul Hossain Shanto, the centurion of the previous game and Liton Das who moved down to No.4 position scored identical 35 runs. Mehidy Hasan Miraz added 37.

With 4-40, Mark Adair was the most successful Irish bowler, while George Dockrell and Andy McBrine both took two wickets.

Rony Talukdar, one of Bangladesh’s two debutants alongside Mrittunjoy Chowdhory, made a disappointing start to his ODI career, replacing Liton in the opening position with Tamim after the Tigers were requested to bat first.

He opened his account with a boundary in the 12th ball he faced after a rocky start, but a wild shot saw him removed just two balls later.

Shanto, fresh off his maiden century, began with some confident shots before Craig Young, Ireland’s only change, dismissed him, caught by Balbirnie at slip.

Tamim and Liton Das put up a 70-run stand for the fourth wicket, but it was not enough as Andy McBrine struck to have him caught by Adair at mid-off.

George Dockrell provided the team with a double joy, dismissing Towhid Hridoy (13) and Tamim Iqbal in short succession to get the team back into the game.

Bangladesh was 186-5, but Mushfiqur and Miraz scored 77 runs for the sixth wicket to boost the likelihood of a 300-plus total.

However, McBrine struck again with the wicket of Mushfiqur, and Adair did the rest, running through the innings flawlessly as Bangladesh lost the final five wickets for only 13 runs.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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