Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI, Mirpur November 11, 2015

Mustafizur makes a sight for sore eyes

Mustafizur Rahman has been making things happen in Bangladesh cricket since he made his debut and his tale now has a new entry - bowling with nine men behind the wicket

On the edge: Bangladesh pack the slip cordon for Mustafizur Rahman © BCB

Flash lights, nine fieldsmen behind the stumps, and the bowler.

You may have seen a few attacking fields set at the Shere Bangla National Stadium before but never before for a Bangladeshi pace bowler. Phone cameras suddenly sprung up in the hundreds at the southern end behind the slip cordon. It is learnt that Nasir Hossain was the reason behind captain Mashrafe Mortaza offering such unprecedented support to Mustafizur Rahman as he bowled to Zimbabwe's No. 11 Taurai Muzarabani in the 43rd over.

Mustafizur had just completed his third five-for in ODIs to leave Bangladesh one wicket away. Apart from Mahmudullah at mid-off, the rest of the team were up waiting for a catch. Mashrafe said that he kept that man back on the circle because Mustafizur's slower deliveries have a tendency to be spooned up in front of the pitch.

"Nasir started to shout for everyone to come to the slips. It led me to send everyone there but I pulled out one guy and sent him to mid-off because Mustafizur draws a lot of top edges," Mashrafe said.

Obviously this is not the first time that an international captain has, for fun or need, set such an outrageous field. But Mashrafe may have never dreamt of it happening with a Bangladesh fast bowler charging in. He took time to add that they weren't "trying to send any message. I just remembered that once Australia did the same thing."

Mustafizur wasn't eventually adjudged the Man of the Match but the man who was, Tamim Iqbal, admitted that he was surprised to get it and then threw his weight behind the 20-year old quick. "Whenever he comes to bowl, you know something is going to happen," Tamim said. "He has made a big contribution to our wins this year. We lacked a bowler who could take wickets in the middle and end overs."

"All the other bowlers like Mashrafe bhai, Rubel and Al-Amin are also understanding their own limitations while bowling from the other end. I think that's another big gain. One bowler is taking wickets and at the other end things remain tight."

Tamim, who has never faced Mustafizur in a match situation, said that it must be hard for first-timers to keep track of what is coming at them. "He is very clever in the nets. He doesn't bowl slowers to me. He is quite hard to pick for someone playing him for the first time. I have very little idea of him since I have played him only a few times in the nets."

On Wednesday, Mustafizur took his first wicket with an inswinger, the ball all left-arm fast bowlers crave. The next two - Regis Chakabva and Sikandar Raza - were off slower balls. The fourth was Luke Jongwe popping a catch to cover. Finally and fittingly the fifth scalp, Tinashe Panyangara, was also undone by a slower one.

Mashrafe said that the Zimbabwe series was a good opportunity for Mustafizur to try out his inswinger to the right-hander, which needs a little work.

"He is still learning that delivery, working on it in the nets. It was a good opportunity for him to try this delivery. He was hit for a few boundaries too in the last game and this one. But it can happen. He got wickets today, which will give him confidence," Mashrafe said. "His options are already quite hard to read for the batsmen. If he can regularly bring the ball in, it will make him harder to play."

Most of the fans at the southern end of the ground brought down their cameras as soon as Mustafizur's eighth over ended. There was some hope that he would get the chance to bowl another over and have an attempt at a second six-wicket haul. Arafat Sunny completed the job but Mustafizur jumped and whooped as the rest of the team surrounded him in celebration. They were rejoicing the young man who brought them the most joy in 2015.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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