Sports Reporter: Bangladesh geared up for their first T-20 International series victory against New Zealand by continuing their recent hot run as they take on the visitors today (Sunday) in the third match at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
The match which starts at 4pm will be aired live on Gazi TV and T Sports.
The Tigers lead the series 2-0 following seven-wicket victory in the first match and four-run win in the second game. The home side just crushed New Zealand in the first match, dismissing the tourists for their lowest even T20 International score of 60.
The visitors however fared better in the second match where wicket was particularly good but just couldn’t finish off the game. Skipper Tom Latham played a brilliant 49 ball-65 not out, nevertheless, he could not score the required eight runs in the last two balls.
While Latham failed, Bangladesh particularly would be buoyed, largely due to the fact that Mustafizur could defend 19 runs in the last over even when he had a bad day in the office after quite a long time. In the second game, Mustafizur gave away 34 runs in his four overs. He also almost threw the game when he delivered a beamer in the fourth ball of the last over that went for five runs. But he recovered from that and curbed Latham’s aggression in the last two balls to deliver the victory eventually.
“Mustafizur held his nerve well and we went really close. It [beamer] was unusual, but I had quite a bit of confidence in Mustafizur. Mahedi has been bowling really well with the new ball and the wicket got better. We are happy to continue with this [winning] streak,” Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad said, praising Mustafizur’s effort. While Mahmudullah is brimming with confidence to wrap up the series with two matches to spare, Tom Latham seemed to be happy with showing some fighting spirit after a frustrating defeat in the first game.
“It was a great game to take it down to the last over. I thought we learnt from the last game and to take it down to the last over with a chance of winning was outstanding,” Latham said.
“I think a better surface makes for a better game and that was the case. We probably weren’t there as we would have liked, but I thought 130-140 was a competitive score. But to take it to the last over I was really proud of the guys to change it around.”
After losing first two games, New Zealand knew it was their last chance to keep the series alive. There is no doubt that New Zealand would come all guns blazing but Bangladesh had additional motivation to make it count.
The third T20 game would be captain Mahmudullah’s 100th game for Bangladesh in this format. He in fact will be first Bangladeshi player and eighth player overall to play 100 matches in this format. During his 37 not out in the last match, that saw him adjudged man of the match, he went past Tamim Iqbal’s 1701 T20 Internationals runt o go up second in the batting chart of Bangladesh with 1702 runs. Shakib Al Hasan led the way with 1755 runs.
It would be an added bonanza if Bangladesh could wrap up series on Mahmudullah’s milestone match.
There is also another motivation for Bangladesh as Shakib needs just two wickets to be the highest wicket-taker in T20 International, going past Lasith Malinga’s 107-wicket haul. Two wickets more also will make him the first player to score 12000 runs and claim 600 wickets simultaneously in the International cricket.
However even though they won the last eight matches out of 10, which is highest for them in a calendar year, In T20 cricket, the Tigers’ stat still looked not up to the mark. They so far played 110 matches and won 40. They had lost a staggering number of 68 matches while two matches fetched no result.
Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah Riyad (Captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Kumer Das, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Afif Hossain, Naim Sheikh, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Shamim Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Saifuddin, Shoriful Islam, Taijul Islam, Sheikh Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam Biplob, Nasum Ahmed
New Zealand squad: Tom Latham (capt, wk), Hamish Bennett, Tom Blundell (wk), Doug Bracewell, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Blair Tickner, Will Young.
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