Youngster Afif Hossain and Nurul Hasan’s splendid batting propelled Bangladesh to a 5-wicket victory against Australia in the second T20 match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Wednesday. Tigers now lead the five-match series by 2-0.
This is also the first time ever; Tigers have beaten Australia in two consecutive matches. The two youngsters, wonderful batting prowess have dragged Bangladesh out of a very deep hole as Tigers were at one point were reeling at 67/5, chasing a low score of 121. From there, Afif and Nurul’s 44-ball 56 run partnership took Tigers to victory shores. Afif played a match winning 31-ball 37, supported aptly by Nurul’s 21-ball 22. The high-adrenaline chase made Afif and Nurul heroes of the evening, but we should not forget the brilliant bowling effort from the Tigers. To restrict Australia to 121 is massive, and credit for that goes to pacers Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam firstly, along with the ever-consistent spinners.
Chasing a mere 121, Soumya Sarkar failed again with the bat and got out cheaply off Mitchell Starc’s delivery. Mohammad Naim (9) also failed to put much damage on the scoreboard and was bowled by Josh Hazlewood. From there, Shakib al Hasan and Mahedi Hasan made the scoreboard ticking and tried to score runs quickly. However, after 17-ball 26, Shakib was removed by Andrew Tye and then skipper Mahmudullah Riyad (0) soon followed suit, which put Tigers reeling at 59/4 after 9.3 overs.
Mahedi then gave his wicket away, which put Bangladesh under a lot of pressure. Bangladesh batsmen were losing wickets at regular intervals and played some rush shots. However, from there Nurul Hasan and Afif Hossain showed some resonance and class. Especially, Afif was playing some exquisite shots and Nurul was playing the supporting role. Their 56-run partnership took Bangladesh to the victory shores.
Earlier, left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman scalped three wickets and Shoriful Islam’s two wickets helped Bangladesh to restrict Australia to 121/7.
The visitors repeated the same, as the openers failed to get off to a good start, losing their first wicket in the middle of the third over. Nasum Ahmed caught Alex Carey while attempting to slog over mid-wicket off Mahedi Hasan.
Then Mustafizur Rahman grabbed the wicket of Josh Philippe in his very first over. Right-handed batter Mitchell Marsh and Moises Henriques stitched a partnership of 57 runs for the third wicket, however, Shakib Al Hasan broke the well-settled stand as he bowled Henriques, who was looking for quick runs. The batter played a knock of 30 runs in 25 balls including three boundaries and a single six.
Young pacer Shoriful Islam delivered a major blow to the Aussies when he returned Marsh (45) in the 17th over. Marsh was out on 45 for the second time in two matches. Mustafizur struck again when he bowled skipper Matthew Wade (4) and returned Ashton Agar (0) who was caught behind in the same over. Following the two straight wickets, Ashton Turner was caught by Mahmudullah off Shoriful in the following over as he tried to cut it over the off side.