Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah guided his team to their first-ever series victory over Australia on Friday, putting up a thrilling 10-point victory in the third Twenty20 international match.
After taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-game series in Dhaka, the young Bangladesh side fell into each other’s arms in disbelief on their biggest night of cricket yet.
Before this week, Bangladesh had never even beaten Australia in a T20. It was their first series victory against their glorified opponents in any format.
” I’m so proud. The boys got up at an important time, ”said the captain, whose 52 was the base of Bangladesh’s 127 for nine of their 20 overs.
As Mitchell Marsh, who shot 51, and Ben McDermott (35) threatened to see Australia take the win in the empty stadium, the Bangladeshi bowlers once again took control by scoring in the final.
Left-arm rhythm thrower Mustafizur Rahman allowed just nine points from his four overs.
Australia went just 117 for four, losing by 10 points, much to the frustration of captain Matthew Wade.
Even a hat-trick from young bowler Nathan Ellis in his early days couldn’t lift the side and their gloom.
“Very disappointing,” was Wade’s verdict of the match and a series that followed their loss in the T20 series in the West Indies last month.
While they have been without Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins, there are still concerns in the Australian camp.
“We would like to correct some things,” admitted Wade.
Mahmudullah won the toss and surprisingly chose to strike after the start was delayed by more than 90 minutes by rain.
He was his team’s top scorer with his patient 53 innings, but was also Ellis’ first scalp who came to rest fast pitcher Mitchell Starc and made his mark in the last three balls.
As Bangladesh looked for big hits, Mustafizur was later caught by Marsh and Mahedi Hasan was caught by Ashton Agar in deep square.
In response, Marsh and McDermott put in 63 for the third wicket, but Dhaka’s slow wicket again took its toll. The tracks became impossible to find as they were in the first two games that Bangladesh won by 35 tracks and five wickets.
The Bangladeshi players danced on the pitch to celebrate the further boost to their international status in a Twenty20 World Cup year.
They have now won seven consecutive T20 internationals and the night’s win was even more impressive as it was the lowest total they’ve ever defended to win.
Mahmudullah said the team have sat down for serious talks after their recent series victory in Zimbabwe.
“We felt we were a good team even though the standings didn’t show it,” he said. Bangladesh is currently ranked 10th by the International Cricket Council.
“We just have to play with a big heart and a balanced mind and show our skills,” he said of the country’s prospects at the World Cup, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in October-November.
© 2021 AFP