IRELAND, BANGLADESH IN ENGLAND 2023
Mustafizur gives glimpse of returning to his best
by Atif Azam • Published on Mon, May 15, 2023
Ahead of the series against Ireland, Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha claimed that he was waitingto see Mustafizur Rahman returns back to his best.
The left-arm pace bowler hardly had shown enough promise in the recent past and there were murmurs whether he had passed his prime or not.
On Sunday (May 14) against Ireland there was enough evidence from the experienced campaigner that he still has some magic left in him. He certainly looked too hot for the Irish batsmen to handle after being rested in the opening two games against Ireland that certainly had something to do with his present form.
Mustafizur, who returned with figures of four for 44, was adjudged the player-of-the-match, but more than that he looked to be enjoying his bowling despite being under pressure if not anything else.
Chasing 274, the hosts were cruising nicely at 223 for the loss of three wickets with set batters Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker at the crease they needed 51 runs off 54 balls to win when skipper Tamim Iqbal introduced part-time spinner Nazmul Hossain in the 42nd over and he eventually proved to be the golden arm. Tector failed to clear the long-on boundary while trying to muscle a short-of-a-good-length delivery that also ended the 79-run stand between him and Tucker.
Mustafizur, who picked opener Stephen Doheny in his opening spell, looked like he kept his best for the death overs and it was the Fizz show from then onwards.
The left-arm pacer picked up three key wickets– Curtis Campher, George Dockrell, and Lorcan Tucker– in three overs and more importantly gave away only nine runs during those three overs to shift the scales in their favour.
Mustafizur demonstrated his death bowling prowess by removing Campher and Dockrell, both of them getting caught respectively at mid- off and cover as he tricked them through his variations, and when he bowled Tucker, his third wicket in successive overs, for exactly fifty, it sucked all the momentum out of the Ireland run chase.
After a long time, Mustafizur looked lot more proactive and he tried different things. He carried reasonable pace but more than that he tried to change his angle now and then and when necessary came round the wicket and over the wicket.
The Irish failed to negotiate his change of pace and in his last spell he tried to bowl full lengths and yorkers – something that he did not tried very often in the recent past.
“I think the three overs from Nazmul and three overs from Mustafizur changed the game for us,” Tamim told reporters after the game.
“I am sure all the people sitting here (in the press conference room) that include me never thought that we can win this game at one point,” he said.
“This win is very special for me because we have always seen this kind of situation from the other side where we are in a winning position and somehow we lost but very rarely we win in this situation especially when we are bowling. It was very pleasing to see and I think the confidence that the bowling team will get from this is incredible and I am really happy for all the bowlers whoever bowled today and I thought did the job perfectly. Wasn’t easy defending in this ground 274 and I thought they did it really well,” he said adding that he was impressed with young Hasan Mahmud, who kept his cool to defend 10 runs in his last over.
“He( Hasan) is impressive and the way he is bowling at the moment is world class and I think especially with the new ball he has been amazing and at the death. He is a very young guy and has a old head and very calm under pressure and I think will be great learning for him. You can bowl thousand of balls under practice but to deliver under this pressure is something else and I think he will learn hell out of a lot,” he said.
Bangladesh ended their campaign in the ICC Super League at the third position with 155 points and Tamim can certainly feel confident going into the global tournament with the likes of Hasan and co but the bowling unit will be all the more stronger with Mustafizur back in his old form. He certainly showed indication of it.