Afif Hossain struck his career-best 77 not out while Mehidy Hasan Miraz claimed 3-17 in crucial period of the game as Bangladesh coasted to a 7-run win over a highly spirited United Arab Emirates (UAE) in opening game of the two-match T20 series on September 25 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Thanks to Afif's knock, Bangladesh recovered from a shaky start to post 158-5 and then Miraz's bowling helped them to bowl UAE out for 151 in 19.4 overs, reports BSS.
Nurul Hasan Sohan who stood as the captain in absence of Shakib Al Hasan hit 35 off 25, clobbering two fours and two sixes.
Afif and Sohan basically lifted the side with an 81-run partnership for an undefeated sixth wicket stand after a familiar batting debacle saw Bangladesh being reduced to 77-5.
They dealt with less experienced but pumped-up UAE bowlers astutely to give Bangladesh a sigh of relief.
Together they maintained a healthy strike rate, which eventually helped the side go past 150 runs mark. Afif who flicked Zawar Farid through midwicket for a single to complete his third half-century off 38 balls eventually smashed seven fours and three sixes.
Bangladesh was asked to bat and opened through Sabbir Rahman and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, leaving Liton Das bat at No.3 position.
But the opening pair failed to deliver with Sabir Ali striking in the second over to remove Sabbir for duck.
Liton Das who came back to side after recovering from injury scored just 13 before being out by Aayan Afzal Khan.
Soon after Miraz also followed him, after being caught and bowled out Zawar Farid.
Afif though kept rotating the scoreboard, wickets were tumbling at the other end. Karthik Meiyappan rattled the stump of Yasir Ali (4) who was considered to fill the shoes, left vacant by Mushfiqur Rahim and Mosaddek Hossain was stumped after trying for a big shot.
As the situation got worsened, Sohan and Afif brought the side back in the contention with caution and aggression.
Meiyappan was the highest wicket-taker for UAE with 2-33.
The UAE batters gave Bangladesh some scare initially but the gulf of
difference in the experience between the two sides made the ultimate difference.
UAE openers Muhammad Waseem and Chirag Suri got off to a fluent start, leaving Bangladesh a surprised state but the visitors got the breakthrough luckily when Waseem was trapped run out at non strikers end when Suri's direct hit touched the hand of bowler Shoriful to break the stump. Waseem who made run-a-ball-15 was clearly outside of his crease.
Suri however kept the side in the hunt, pummeling the Bangladesh bowler all corner of the park. The introduction of Miraz brought the fortune for Bangladesh as he removed Suri with a flighted delivery.
Suri who sent the ball across the ropes for seven times scored 24 off 24.
Miraz them got rid of Aryan Lakra (19) and Vriitya Aravind (16) in his next two overs to make Bangladesh hot favourite to win the game. However UAE batter refused to give up as they took the game to the deep, raising a prospect of win the game with Aayan Afzal Khan leading the way.
After making 25 off 17, Aayan got out in the last over, trying for a big hit as UAE needed 11 runs. His dismissal eventually gave Bangladesh the victory.
Shoriful Islam with 3-21 and Mustafizur with 2-31 played their part alongside Miraz in bowling.