Najmul Hossain Shanto’s maiden One-Day International century, Towhid Hridoy’s brisk fifty and Mushfiqur Rahim’s responsible knock guided Bangladesh to a hard fought three-wicket win over Ireland in the second ODI at the County Ground in Chelmsford, England on Friday.
In a 45-over-a-side contest after a two hour rain delay before the match began, Shanto smashed 117 off 93 balls, Towhid hit a 58-ball 68 and Mushfiq scored an unbeaten 36 off 28 balls to take Bangladesh to 320-7 in 44.3 overs.
Earlier, Bangladesh bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Harry Tector and George Dockrel as Ireland posted a daunting 319-6 from their 45 overs.
Tector struck seven fours and 10 sixes to score 140 off 113 balls and Dockrell hit a brisk 74 off 47 balls and together they added 115 runs off just 68 balls for the sixth wicket.
The Bangladesh bowlers had a day to forget. Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud took two wickets a piece but the former leaked 83 runs to claim the couple of wickets.
Bangladesh’s reply started poorly, as they lost skipper Tamim Iqbal (seven off 13 balls) early. Liton Das (21 off 21 balls) and Shakib Al Hasan (26 off 27 balls) started well but didn’t hang around for too long as Bangladesh were reduced to 101-3 after 17 overs.
The Tigers were in need of a big partnership and Shanto and Towhid did exactly that. The duo batted together for 17 overs, played attractive shots all across the ground and added 131 runs.
Shanto completed his maiden ODI hundred off 83 balls right after Towhid completed his fifty off 49 balls.
Bangladesh then lost their way a bit as Towhid, Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz (19 off 12 balls) departed in quick succession.
Bangladesh still needed 34 runs off 32 balls with Mushfiq as the only front-line batter in the middle.
Mushfiq then formed a 25-run stand with Taijul Islam (nine off 13 balls), which ended when the latter got trapped leg-before wicket by Josh Little in the penultimate over.
Shoriful Islam (four off three balls) eased the pressure with a four off his first delivery which left five runs for Bangladesh to chase in the final over with Mushfiq on strike.
In the final over, pacer Mark Adair bowled two dot balls before bowling a full toss which Mushfiq hit straight to the fielder at the boundary.
But luck was in Mushfiq and Bangladesh’s favour as the third umpire rightfully declared that full toss a no ball for being over-waist, leaving Bangladesh four to get off four balls with Mushfiq on strike on a free hit.
Mushfiq whipped out his old reliable scoop shot to hit the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head, to the ropes for a boundary as a stadium packed with Bangladeshis erupted in joy.
With the win Bangladesh take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
The first match of the series ended in a no result due to rain. The third and final match of the series will take place at the same ground on 14 May.