Mehidy shines as Bangladesh clinch second T20 and series against England

Bangladesh might have lost their proud unbeaten record in ODIs but they have exacted emphatic revenge over England in the shorter format, winning the second T20 by four wickets and the series with a game to spare. This is a curiously lopsided England side, light on batters and so overblessed with bowlers – so much so that the 19th over was also Chris Jordan’s first. Bangladesh started it needed 13 off 12 deliveries, and had the game wrapped up with seven to spare.

Even on a troublesome wicket neither England’s final total of 117, nor the manner in which they accumulated it, looked like the kind of things that lead to success. But with Rehan Ahmed making yet another debut (and taking a wicket with his second ball) for a while it looked possible that they might somehow scramble to victory, until Najmul Hossain Shanto – who had scored three half-centuries in his four previous innings against England over the last 10 days and ended this one unbeaten on 46 – and Mehidy Hasan Miraz took the game away in the middle overs.

In the end the match probably turned on the 14th over of Bangladesh’s chase. Mehidy started it by launching Rashid down the ground for six, but two balls later his missed a sweep. The umpire was unmoved by England’s appeal, and the review failed by the narrowest of margins, umpire’s call on impact as the ball arrowed stumpwards. Two balls later a beautiful delivery deceived Shanto but somehow cleared the bails, so surprising Jos Buttler that he missed it too and the ball trundled away for four byes. Where there might have been two wickets instead there was nothing but runs.

Mehidy celebrated his let-off by smashing Moeen for a six and a four off successive deliveries in the following over, at the end of which Bangladesh stood on 95-3, for the first time ahead of England’s position at the equivalent point. Their progress from there was not exactly serene, but it never looked like being derailed completely.

Despite losing the toss again, bringing to 10 the number of games played by England’s men in all formats this calendar year without a single successful coin-flip, England’s day had started promisingly enough. Dawid Malan was dismissed in the third over but Moeen Ali was promoted to keep a left-hander at the crease, and to allow the 35-year-old – unlike in the first game – to face spin in the middle overs, his particular predilection. At the end of the powerplay England were 50-1, and the innings was ripe with promise.

At this point Bangladesh started harvesting wickets; it took eleven overs for the tourists to double their score, and by then they had lost six. There was one in each of the first three overs after the powerplay. Phil Salt was the next to go, backing away to give himself room to slap a Shakib Al Hasan delivery straight back to the bowler at undroppable height. His innings of 25 off 19 was decent enough – no other Englishman managed more than a run a ball – and featured one excellent six off Mustafizur, but it was the third successive match in which he has scored more than 20 but fewer than 40. His has been a tour of starts and stops, the two of them never very far apart, and with one match to go Salt carries an average of 23.4, a strike rate of 103.5, and a general air of regret.

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Phil Salt
Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan celebrates after taking the wicket of England’s Phil Salt. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

In the following over Hasan Mahmud’s excellent yorker beat Jos Buttler’s defences, in the next Moeen swept Mehidy straight to the fielder at deep midwicket, and from there England recalibrated to survival mode. Ben Duckett and Sam Curran played cannily to survive together for five overs, a period of stability that ended with the outbreak of chaos, which continued until the innings came to an end with an over of three runs and three wickets, two of them run-outs.

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Injuries to Tom Abell and Will Jacks, and the decision not to replace them, stripped two batters out of this England squad and left the side critically unbalanced. There is no single recipe for success in this format, but the one they have alighted on here was never likely to bring anything but defeat.

The Guardian