Just like in the first ODI, Mustafizur Rahman was Bangladesh’s hero, going one better than his five-for on debut with astounding figures of 6 for 43 to make for a world record 11 wickets in his first two ODIs. While Mustafizur delivered spectacularly against a star-studded batting line-up, Bangladesh were not a one-man army. Rather, you got the sense that all 25,000 who had filled the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur to capacity, and indeed the entire country, were on the march with the XI on the field together.
Mustafizur had restricted India to 200 in 45 overs in a match that was reduced to 47 overs a side by rain, and the chase was calmly helmed by the Bangladesh top order, who got to the Duckworth-Lewis revised target of 200 in 38 overs.
India made three changes to the side that lost the first ODI, bringing in Axar Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni and Ambati Rayudu for Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane. Bangladesh’s XI was the same, but Litton Das was handed the wicketkeeping gloves instead of Mushfiqur Rahim.
Mustafizur gave Bangladesh a dream start, sucking Rohit Sharma into a loose drive off the second ball to send him back without scoring. Virat Kohli joined Shikhar Dhawan for India’s best batting phase in the match, the duo adding 74 runs in 73 balls. Of all Indian batsmen, Kohli seemed to have deciphered Mustafizur’s deadly off-cutter the best, hitting the bowler for a six and a four in the same over, having picked the ball early.
At the other end, Dhawan had started smoothly and continued in the same vein. The cover drives and punches through the off side were in full evidence, and with the sun shining down – notwithstanding a short five-minute break for a passing drizzle – both batsmen were increasingly at ease.
In what would turn out to be an inspired move, Mashrafe Mortaza threw the ball to Nasir Hossain for his part-time offspin. In his second over, Nasir struck Kohli flush on the pads and in front of the stumps to break the threatening stand. MS Dhoni strode out at No.4, but while he and Dhawan did stay together for a while, the strike wasn’t rotated enough.
Dhawan got to his fifty by gave Nasir a second wicket when he stepped out, only to get an edge through to the wicketkeeper.
Rayudu fell for a three-ball duck, and the old combine of Dhoni and Suresh Raina got together at 110 for 4 in the 22nd over. The batsmen stayed together until Mustafizur returned for his second spell in the 36th over, and wrought mayhem.
Raina fell to the off-cutter, ending a 53-run stand off 83 balls. Dhoni was similarly undone, the ball bouncing more than he expected for a catch in front of the wicket. Off the next ball, Mustafizur had four, with Axar trapped in front for a first-ball duck.
But Mustafizur wasn’t done: he picked up his second five-for in his second ODI when he had R Ashwin caught behind. Mortaza elected to bowl Mustafizur out, but five balls into his final over – the 44th of the innings – the rain that had threatened all day burst out with India 196 for 8.
When India returned after a break that lasted four minutes short of two hours, Mustafizur had one delivery left to take sole ownership of the world record for most wickets after two ODIs and pulling clear of Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori. He got there in dramatic fashion, rattling Ravindra Jadeja’s stumps and was mobbed by his team-mates. An over later, India was all out.
Bangladesh faced a fairly straightforward chase when they came out, and Dhoni’s only option was to attack and look for wickets. He did just that, bowling Ashwin out by the 25th over. The offspinner had excellent returns of 10-2-32-1, but that was not enough.
Though Bangladesh lost Tamim Iqbal early, Soumya Sarkar and Das pushed the score along in a 52-run stand that took 62 balls. Both men fell within a short space of each other, but Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan took up the mantle, their 59-ball partnership of 54 broken only by some smart work by Dhoni, who deflected the ball through his legs onto the stumps to run out Rahim. But at 152 for 4, with only 48 needed and 17.5 overs left, the game was Bangladesh’s for the taking.
Victory, and an assured spot in the Champions Trophy 2017, came with Shakib completing a half-century and Sabbir Rahman steering the winning runs.
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