Mahmudullah 62 lifts Bangladesh to 175

 Bappu Mahmud

Mahmudullah’s brilliant 41-ball 62 steered Bangladesh to a challenging total of 175/7 in the fourth tri-series T20 match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram yesterday (Wednesday). The total is competitive for Zimbabweans to chase. Earlier, Zimbabwe won the toss against Bangladesh and opted to field first in their third game of the ongoing Tri-series T20Is.

“We are not sure about the dew, so we want to bowl first. The key is to get a start at the top but I think the guys were going too hard. Anything around 160-mark should be good.” Masakadza told after winning the toss. Shakib looked happy to bat first. “Batting first will give us freedom. Important is how well we start with the bat but it's normally a high-scoring ground and batsmen love playing here. We have got proper five bowlers and some occasional bowlers as well. We don't have a target in mind. We will see after three overs what total to look for, he told.

Bangladesh got impressive start. Specially Liton Das. After four overs they were 41 for 0. But in the fifth over Kyle Jarvis broke the 49 runs partnership by removing Nazmul Islam. And next over Liton missed Mpofu’s length delivery. He walked across to the off side and attempted a pick-up over fine leg. Madziva was at short fine leg and took a stunning catch. He scored 38 from just 22 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes.

Ryan Burl came to bowl in eighth over and he successfully removed Sakib Al Hasan. Bangladesh were 65 for 3. After Shakib’s wicket Mahmudullah and Mushfiq tried to build a partnership. And they set the best partnership of the innings. They got 78 runs from 9.1 overs. This partnership was broken by Mutombodzi in seventeenth over. Mushfiqur swiped across the line and got a thin top edge. Excellent work by Taylor behind the stumps. Mushfiqur scored 32 from 26 with 3 fours and 1 six.

After that Mahmudullah’s destructive batting started. He picked up his well-deserved half century from 37 balls. He smashed Zimbabweans bowler all around the ground. In eighteenth over Bangladesh got past 150 runs. Afif got out with just 7 runs from 8 balls in nineteenth over. Mahmudullah got out in the last over. Finally Bangladesh set 175/7.

Bangladesh made three changes. Soumya, Sabbir and Taijul were dropped. They have two new debutant Najmul Islam Santo and Aminul Islam. Also Shafiul Islam is back. Zimbabwe have left out Tendai Chatara and Craig Ervine (niggle) and brought in Chris Mpofu and Richmond Mutumbami.

Before the match selectors made a big call picking Aminul Islam, the 20-year-old all-rounder who bowls legspin. He impressed in two Dhaka Premier League seasons but not to the extent that he was a hot choice for the senior team. He probably was better off playing more for Bangladesh A, but such are the times in Bangladesh cricket when suddenly unknown quantities are thrown into the deep end. He has only played two T20s in a league competition, and has never played the BPL.

Najmul Hossain is also a surprise choice to replace Soumya Sarkar, but probably his recent form for Bangladesh A and the Bangladesh emerging side has pushed his case. But he is an accumulator in longer format and in one-day cricket, and not quite a T20 big-hitter. Not yet.