Sports Desk:- After a scintillating bowling display from spinner Nasum Ahmed and left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, contributions with the bat from Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and opener Mohammad Naim helped the Tigers register a convincing six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the fourth T20I at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
The win also ensured Bangladesh’s maiden T20I series triumph over New Zealand as the Tigers sealed the five-match T20I series 3-1 with a game in hand. After bundling out New Zealand for 93 in 19.3 overs, Bangladesh romped to victory in 19.1 overs. Opener Naim scored a 35-ball 29, laced with a four and a maximum, before being run-out in the 15th over while skipper Mahmudullah saw his troops over the line by staying unbeaten on 43 off 48 deliveries. Playing in a slow and turning Mirpur pitch, both Naim and Mahmudullah survived some close calls in the middle but with no scoreboard pressure, the Tigers, in the end, made the chase look very easy.
Mahmudullah was the most impressive with the bat, striking two sixes and the winning run with a boundary over the mid-wicket. Bangladesh, however, did lose three of their top-order batsmen — opener Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim — inside the powerplay that left Tigers in a spot of bother at 32 for three after six overs. But Mahmudullah and Naim then strung together a 34-run stand to ensure Bangladesh do not lose their grip on the game while chasing a low total.
After Naim was made run-out in the 15th over after the left-hander tried to force a double, all-rounder Afif Hossain (6* off 10) stuck around with skipper Mahmudullah as the duo’s unbeaten 29-run stand saw Tigers home. Earlier, four-wicket hauls from spinner Nasum and pacer Mustafizur Rahman helped Tigers bundle out New Zealand under the 100-run mark. While Nasum dismantled the Kiwi top and middle order to finish with career-best T20I figures of four for 10 in four overs that included a wicket-maiden and a double-wicket maiden, Mustafizur ran through the visitors’ line-up at the death to end with four wickets for 12 runs in his 3.3 overs.
Tigers lose three wickets inside powerplay Chasing a meagre 94-run target, Bangladesh lost three of their top-order batsmen — opener Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim — inside the powerplay in the fourth T20I against New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. Liton was the first one to fall when the right-hander tried to hit spinner Cole McConchie for successive boundaries in the third over. Having already hit McConchie for a boundary over midwicket the previous ball, Liton tried to repeat it in the very next delivery but this time the ball turned a bit and Finn Allen took a brilliant running catch in the outfield.
Like Liton, Shakib also threw his wicket away by playing an unnecessary shot. With not much of scoreboard pressure, Bangladesh were cruising along comfortably after the fall of the first wicket. Shakib and Mohammad Naim had already stitched together 24 runs for the second wicket before the former lost his patience and rushed down the track only to be stumped off an Ajaz Patel delivery in the final over of the powerplay. Patel also bowled Mushfiqur Rahim in the final delivery of the same over, leaving Bangladesh at 32 for three after six overs.