Experienced campaigner Mushfiqur Rahim scored a valuable fifty to help Bangladesh post 246-9 in their 50 overs against Ireland in the opening match of the three-match ODI series at the Cloud County Ground in Chelmsford, England on Tuesday.
Birthday boy Mushfiqur, who came in the middle after the dismissal of Najmul Hossain Shanto (44) in the 22nd over, struck 61 off 70 balls while he also shared a crucial 65-run stand with Mehidy Hasan Miraz (27) for the sixth wicket to take Bangladesh score close to the 250-run mark.
Bangladeshi young pacer duo – Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud then took two early wickets in the Ireland innings to reduce them to 31-2 in seven overs when the report was filed.
Shoriful removed Paul Stirling for 15 in the fourth over before Hasan joined in the act by dismissing Irish skipper Andrew Balbirnie (five) in the next over.
Ireland are desperate to clinch victories in all three matches in order to get a direct qualification in the upcoming ICC World Cup in India later this year while Bangladesh have already qualified for the mega event.
On Tuesday, Bangladesh lost both their openers – Liton Das (0) and Tamim Iqbal (14) early in their innings after they were sent into bat first by the host team.
Liton was trapped in front by pacer Adair while Tamim was caught behind while trying to chase a wide delivery.
In-form batsman Shanto then shared an exact 50-run stand with Tawhid Hridoy (27) for the fourth wicket to take Bangladesh score over the 100-run mark but Ireland fought back brilliantly by dismissing both the batsmen in quick succession.
Bangladesh were left struggling at 122-5 when Hridoy was dismissed by Hume and they had their last recognized pair – Mushfiqur and Mehidy at the crease.
Both the batters then eased the pressure by scoring runs at a good pace. Mushfiqur was also lucky in his innings as he was dropped on 19 by Balbirnie and later, he also went on to complete his 44th ODI fifty.
However, Bangladeshi failed to accelerate their innings after the dismissal of these batsmen as they could score 26 runs in the last five overs to get restricted to a mediocre total.