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Tigers overpower big prey

29Teenage debutant Mustafizur, who was dubbed the ‘secret weapon under the sleeve’ from the very early of the series, proved his worth and finished five for 50 as the hosts Bangladesh outplayed India by 79 runs in their Za’n Zee Ice Cream three-match ODI series opener at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur in the capital on Thursday.

Chasing a challenging target of 308, India were dismissed for 228 in 46 overs.

There was brilliant bowling show by left-hand seamer Mustafizur Rahman, who impressed everyone in his T20 debut against Pakistan in April, also showed his swing and off-cutter on Thursday to become man of the match.

This is the second best bowling figure for any Bangladesh bowler and the best bowling figure for any left-hand Bangladesh seamer on ODI debut. Earlier, Taskin Ahmed claimed five wickets in his ODI debut last year against the same opponents.

Earlier, Bangladesh decided their best 11 before starting the match, including four seamers for the first time, and the decision proved vital when Bangladesh seamers duo Mustafizur and Taskin Ahmed’s new ball swing caused some issues.

Although India found their first boundary from willow in fourth over but later Dhawan and Rohit duo opted to attack, hit several fours each in the next couple of overs and tried to take back the initiative from the home side.

Bangladesh showed a poor fielding in the middle of the innings. Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur dropped three catches and the ground fielding was sloppy too. The half chances boosted Indian opening pair to put on 96 runs in 16th over.

However, paceman Taskin Ahmed who has a nice record against India, displayed a superb comeback in his second spell and picked up two crucial wickets of openers Dhawan and Kholi in a short time.

The moment came after couple of overs when debutant Mustafizur sent in-form batsman Rohit Sharma to the dressing room for 63, his maiden ODI wicket. Rohit meekly chipped a catch to midwicket by skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.The 19-year old debutant left-hand seamer kept up the pressure by having Rahane (9) when Nasir brought about his demise jumping high to complete a fascinating catch at cover as India had found 115 for four in 23 overs.

Things were going in favour of Bangladesh when Shakib Al Hasan beat Dhoni completely in flight, as the Indian skipper was completely deceived, falling for five runs.

Crucially for Bangladesh, Raina who was dismissed, thanks to a wonderful effort from Mustafizur, who claimed two valuable wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kholi in his second spell, fooled Raina with his secret weapon off-cutter in his third spell and broke the match turning 60-run stand.

By the time Mustafizur completed his five-wicket haul and reached a new landmark when he removed Ashwin for a golden duck in his very next delivery.

Mohit Shrma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav all followed and failed to score as the team India tried desperately to achieve their target.

Earlier, Bangladesh put up a gritty batting display to post a strong 307 against India, riding on Tamim and Soumya’s second consecutive century stand alongside Shakib Al Hasan’s 29th ODI half century.This was also Bangladesh’s highest score against India in ODIs, surpassing the previous best of 296 for six at the same venue in 2010.

Tigers had a brisk start, left handers duo Tamim Iqbal (28) and Soumya Sarkar (22) put on their second-straight 50-run opening stand rapidly.

Sarkar teamed up with Tamim (38) to plunder 79 runs in the powerplay overs and put Bangladesh in an excellent position against an Indian attack boosted by the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Tamim-Sarker duo’s second successive 100-run stand came in a grand style in 13.2 over when Sarker cracked an upper cut shot of a Mohit Sharma’s short pitch delivery for boundary. Soumya also reached his second ODI fifty with the cheeky upper cut. He got there off just 38 balls.

Suresh Raina got the first breakthrough for India when there was a big confusion between Soumya and Tamim, as the latter worked the ball towards short midwicket, was in two minds about the single, Raina picked the ball and hit the stumps at the non-striker‘s end in one go as Soumya was run out for 54.

By the time, Tamim reached his 18th ODI fifty when he struck another dancing down the wicket shot at long on off Mohit Sharma for a boundary.  However, rain interrupted play for an hour though it was only a light drizzle. But it took a little time to change the color of the game while Indian bowlers subdued the Bangladesh top order when they were 164 for 4.

However, Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Hossain took challenge and rebuilt the innings steadily.

Once Shakib (52) decided to up the tempo, the runs flowed freely – finishing with three boundaries – as he added 83 with Sabbir (41) and 39 with Nasir (34).

Sabbir, who struck five fours and a massive six in his 42 ball knock, entertained the huge Mirpur local crowd with shots all around the ground.

After Sabbir went being clean bowled off Jadeja, Nasir stepped up the tempo for the Tigers smashing a crucial 34 from 27 balls with three fours and a huge six over long on off Jadeja.

Besides, skipper Mashrafe supplied some much needed boundaries final couple of overs as Tigers were able to cross the 300-run mark and set a competitive 308-run target for India.

Ashwin was the leading wicket taker with three for 51.

Earlier, Mashrafe won the toss and opted to bat first. Bangladesh Left hand paceman Mustafizur Rahman and batsman Liton Kumar Das made their limited-over debut.

With an eye on the ICC ODI rankings, Bangladesh will be keen to win at least a game so that they can boost their qualifying chances for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, for which the top eight teams as of September 30 will progress to the tournament. Bangladesh are currently level with West Indies on 88 points but are ranked one spot lower at eighth place, while Pakistan are a point behind at ninth.

The following two ODIs will be played at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka which are scheduled to be held on June 21 and 24.