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Mortaza, Mustafizur shine in Bangladesh win

Home team records 51-run victory against UAE, bowling it out for 82

Mortaza, Mustafizur shine in Bangladesh win - Cricket News
The bowlers made short work of UAE, bundling it out for 82.

Some of the best batsmen in the world have failed to pick up Mustafizur Rahman, the mystery seamer, in his short career so far, and UAE's batsmen too succumbed to his magic.

To be fair, Mustafizur didn’t have to do too much in Bangladesh’s 51-run win in the Asia Cup 2016 match at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Friday (February 26), but it was he who provided the most excitement.

UAE was chasing 134 and was 16 for 1 in the fourth over, when Mustafizur sent in one of his trademark cutters and Rohan Mustafa closed his bat face too quickly for the ball to lob up, Mustafizur braked on his follow through, ran around, put in a dive and held on to a brilliant catch but, as it emerged after many minutes of replay watching, the ball had grazed the ground when he crashed. Not out.

Some rubs of the bruised knee and a wry smile later, Mustafizur walked off, and Mashrafe Mortaza soon had UAE down at 34 for 3.

Then Mustafizur returned and was at it again – cutter to Mohammad Shahzad, leading edge, caught and bowled; cutter to Swapnil Patil next ball, leading edge, ball landing in Mortaza’s hands at mid-on. The hat-trick didn’t happen, but Mustafizur, still just 20, had brought the 25,000-odd crowd in Mirpur, and the unique smartphone salute was out in good numbers.

Mustafizur had left UAE at 34 for 5. From there to 82 all out was just a matter of some decent bowling and in the middle of all that, Amjad Javed’s back foot sliding back for a rare hit-wicket dismissal. Over and out.

Earlier, after Bangladesh was asked to bat, it started well enough as Mohammad Mithun and Soumya Sarkar began quietly and then picked up pace.

Mithun, all swish and swing, was the more aggressive of the two, taking Amjad for a four and a six in a 17-run over, but Sarkar, two balls after sending Shahzad many rows back over deep square-leg, went for one shot too many and holed out after a 14-ball 21.

But the runs were flowing at this stage, Mithun taking Shahzad for a six and a four in an over as well, and by the end of the ninth over, Bangladesh was 70 for 1, 150-160 clearly on the cards.

It was quite an atmosphere to be in at the time – the magic of a sizeable crowd shouting at the top of its voice, drums, dancing … but equally eerie is the sound of the silence so many people can create when the tide turns. And it turned all right. Sabbir Rahman went first, and then Mithun thought he had played the ball when it had only trickled down to the wicketkeeper, set off for a run and was run out for a 41-ball 47 with four fours and two sixes.

Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib-al-Hasan, Nurul Hasan and Mortaza fell without doing much, and Bangladesh had slipped to 114 for 7 in the 19th over – forget 150, even 130 needed something special. They got it from Mahmudullah, who had hung around watching the procession of his mates, and took off in the final over, bowled by Mustafa: 4, 2, 2, 6, 2 and 1 – 17 runs to the total. Taskin Ahmed was run out off the last ball, and Mahmudullah remained unbeaten on 36 from 27 balls, and Bangladesh had something to play with.

Another day, 133 for 8 wouldn’t be enough, and the profligacy of the middle-order batsmen might be punished. As would the two sitters Sarkar dropped in the slips at various stages of the UAE reply. On the night, however, none of that hurt, and Bangladesh would be happy with that for now.

Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre

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