DELHI: Mushfiqur Rahim’s perfectly paced, unbeaten 60 off 43 balls took Bangladesh to a seven-wicket win over India, their first against these opponents in nine attempts. Mushfiqur’s late charge against Khaleel Ahmed completely changed the game in Delhi, so much so that in the end, the result was almost a formality. The 1-0 lead in the three-match series will also be a massive boost to a team that has been reeling after Shakib Al Hasan was banned by the ICC last week for failing to report bookie approaches, not to mention the tensions created by the players’ strike against the BCB.
Mushfiqur employed the pull shot, a scoop, and two scythes through point to reduce Bangladesh’s chase from 20 off ten balls to a mere four from the last over. Khaleel was the bowler who bore the brunt of Mushfiqur’s calculated hits, which came quite late despite him being well set up until that point. In the end, it was a masterstroke to hold back his shots as Bangladesh savoured their big moment.
The debutant Shivam Dube was handed the ball in the last over, his medium pace an interesting choice given the history between these two sides and last-over finishes. Dube was ineffective as Mahmudullah ran hard to complete two runs off the second ball before getting a wide and then hammering one over wide long-on for six. India could have done better to avoid defeat, notably when Mushfiqur slog-swept a ball in the 18th over to deep midwicket and Krunal Pandya not only dropped the catch but let it go for four.
When India batted first, Rohit Sharma was trapped lbw in the first over by a Shafiul Islam delivery that moved back in slightly. The home side’s rhythm was further dented when KL Rahul bunted legspinner Aminul Islam’s half-tracker to Mahmudullah at short cover. Shreyas Iyer pushed the run rate but he too fell to Aminul, mistiming a lofted drive, having struck a four and two sixes in his 13-ball 22. At the other end, Shikhar Dhawan struggled to score quickly before Rishabh Pant’s poor call for a second run cost him his wicket. Dhawan top-scored with 41, but it came off 42 balls.