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So close yet so far

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 23 November, 2021 12:00 AM
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So close yet so far
Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah plays a shot during their third T20I match against Pakistan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in the capital on Monday. – AFP PHOTO

Skipper Mahmudullah’s heroic effort with the ball in the last over went in vain as Bangladesh suffered a heartbreaking five-wicket defeat to Pakistan during the third and last game of the three-match T20I series in Mirpur on Monday.

Bangladesh, who managed to score only 124-7 with Mohammad Naim making the highest 47 off 50 balls, were at the backfoot in the game most of the time as Pakistan needed only eight runs in the final over to win the last match of the series as well.

Mahmudullah bowled a dot ball in the first ball of the final over while he removed Sarfaraz Ahmed (six) and Haider Ali (45) in the next two balls to make the equation – eight off three balls – in Bangladesh’s favour.

However, the part-timer was hit for a six by Iftikhar Ahmed in the next ball that swung the match’s fate again to Pakistan before Mahmudullah dismissed the batsman in the next ball that left the equation – two runs from the last ball.

The real drama actually started when Mohammad Nawaz, who was at the striking end to face the last ball, pulled out late when Mahmudullah delivered the last ball that eventually made the delivery a dead one.

Mahmudullah (3-10) then stopped in his delivery stride before his third retake of the final ball was smashed for a boundary to extra cover by Nawaz which gave Pakistan a clean sweep result over Bangladesh in the series.

Earlier, although Pakistan lost Babar Azam’s (19) wicket early in the chase, they had control of the match as Mohammad Rizwan (40 off 43 balls) and Haider put up a 51-run for the second wicket.

Debutant pacer Shahidul Islam broke the stand by bowling Rizwan out in the 16th over before some tight overs by other bowlers left the match with a late drama in the last over.

Bangladesh, who earlier decided to bat first for the third successive time in the series, lost opener Najmul Hossain Shanto (five) in the second over after debutant Shahnawaz Dahani bowled him during the third ball of his international career.

Naim then played the role of an anchor in the innings while Shamim Hossain, who was one of the three changes for the match, made 22 runs while Afif Hossain scored 20 runs for Bangladesh.

Naim was dismissed in the 19th over as he became Mohammad Wasim jnr’s second victim in the match but Bangladesh lacked big shots as well smart ones and twos during their entire innings and they had to be content with yet another below-par total that they nearly defended at the end.