Mashrafee leads Tigers to series sweepAzad Majumder . Belfast
Mashrafee bin Murtaza produced a sterling all-round performance to propel Bangladesh to a two- wicket win over Ireland in the third Twenty20 International to take the three-match series 3-0 in Belfast on Saturday.
Surprisingly coming in as a fifth change bowler, Mashrafee took 4-19 to help Bangladesh restrict Ireland to 140-8 before he quick-fired 30 off 13 balls with four huge sixes to set up the topsy-turvy win.
Tamim Iqbal ( 39 off 37 balls) and Mohammad Ashraful ( 24 off 25 balls) put 62 runs in the opening stand, but the visitors unexpectedly lost their way when six wickets went down in seven overs before Mashrafee brought the momentum back.
Mashrafee hit his first six off Kevin O’Brien before left-arm spinner George Dockrell bore the brunt of his onslaught, conceding three sixes in the space of four balls in the 18th over of the innings.
Mashrafee and Mushfiqur Rahim earned 21 runs from the over that effectively sealed the contest.
O’Brien bowled Mashrafee to stop the onslaught but it did not have any impact on the result.
Thanks to Mashrafee, Bangladesh required just five runs in the final over and despite the loss of skipper Mushfiq in the third ball they did not face any problem to reach the target.
Mashrafee had earlier bowled with fire to rein in Ireland, who, opting to bat first, started the game on a positive note with two solid partnerships from the top three batsmen.
Bangladesh opened the bowling with Nazmul Hossain, who came in for Abul Hasan and Sakib al Hasan and Mashrafee was given the ball in the fifth change, something which he could not recall if he had ever done before.
The strategy paid off as Mashrafee took four wickets in his first three overs that cost him just nine runs. He gave away 10 runs in his last over but his 4-19 was still his best bowling figure and third best for any Bangladeshis.
Left-arm spin trio Abdur Razzak (2-33), Elias Sunny (1-23) and Sakib al Hasan ( 1-28 ) complemented him as Bangladesh restricted Ireland to a modest total in front of their holiday crowd.
The win took Bangladesh to fourth position in ICC Twenty20 ranking, their highest position ever in any format of international cricket.
They entered the ranking with sixth position only on the previous day and are now ahead of Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand India and West Indies. They will now travel to the Netherlands for two Twenty20 matches against the Dutch and Scotland, respectively on July 24 and 25.
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Date:Sunday, 22nd July, 2012