Ireland v Bangladesh, 3rd T20, Stormont July 21, 2012

Dashing Mortaza stuns Ireland

Ger Siggins at Stormont

Bangladesh 141 for 8 (Tamim 39, Mortaza 30, Stirling 3-21) beat Ireland 140 for 8 (Mortaza 4-19) by two wickets

Just when Ireland thought they finally had the beating of Bangladesh, a savage batting assault by Mashrafe Mortaza ended their hopes and gave the visitors a 3-0 win in the series. That margin was unfair to the Irish, who took two games to the very last ball.

It was a game that defied the notion that there can be none of the subtle changes in Twenty20 that make the longer forms of the game so captivating. This was a game that swung and shifted over 240 balls of mostly high-quality T20 cricket.

"The last two games were probably a better reflection of where both teams are," said Bangladesh coach Richard Pybus. "Ireland were out of sorts in the first game but the last two both went down to the wire," he said of a series which saw Bangladesh pull off victory margins of 71 runs, one run and two wickets.

Bangladesh needed 32 off 16 balls when Mortaza smashed three sixes off four balls from the left-arm spinner, George Dockrell, the last of which Kevin O'Brien misjudged and eventually knocked over the rope for another maximum.

With eight balls left Mortaza was bowled by Kevin O'Brien, leaving just four needed off the last over. And while Trent Johnston and his fielders made sure every run was hard-earned, the scores were tied with one ball left. A scampered single by Elias Sunny and a whisker-missed shy by Kevin O'Brien saw another close win for Bangladesh.

It was desperately disappointing for Ireland, who are using the games to build towards the ICC World Twenty20 finals in Sri Lanka in September. They play far fewer T20s than full members - this series was their first home games in the shortest format since 2008 - and their aim will be to up that number rapidly in the future.

Bangladesh were unchanged, but Phil Simmons gave Tim Murtagh a first T20I cap, replacing Alex Cusack, and recalled Niall O'Brien in place of Ed Joyce. Although O'Brien hit a frisky 22 he, like most of Ireland's batsmen, got in and then got out. The middle order crumbled yet again, with Kevin O'Brien struggling in a sequence that has seen him get out five times in the last ten balls he has faced for Ireland. He was out first ball here to Mortaza, the man of the match, whose career best 4 for 19 ensured Ireland totalled just 140 for 8.

Early wickets were essential, but Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammed Ashraful settled in from a testing start to record their nation's first fifty opening stand in this format. Tamim also recorded his best score in 18 T20 internationals.

They had taken the score to 62 in the 10th over, with the spinners on, when Ashraful needlessly carted the ball to John Mooney at long off, and within two overs the score was 69 for 3.

Another flurry of wickets saw Bangladesh collapse to 89 for 6 as Stirling and Dockrell exerted pressure. But just as the vociferous Irish crowd started to dream of a third win over these opponents, Mortaza and Mushfique Rahim put together a stand of 46 in 16 balls, which included the 21-run butchering of Dockrell's final over.

"I'm very happy with the spin quartet", said Pybus, "and the tour was good for our seamers too, who got experience of bowling in northern hemisphere conditions, learning that they have to get their lengths right.

"Our batting was pretty solid too, but we have a little work to do before the World Twenty20."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Muhammad Rakibul on July 24, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Good to see after surviving 4m lot of injuries in last 10 years Mashrafi still has stamina & skills to b a match-winner. Unfortunately BD have only 1 world class medium-fast bowler like him.

  • Andrew on July 23, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    @Graemeo ov trablus - Banga fans are very happy as they usually cop a bagging on this site & always seem to have to justify their test status. Bangladesh's introduction into test cricket should of been handled better, instead they were thrown into full test series & got slaughtered. Recently, the series have been a bit more select & they generally compete well & are definately improving, but they still get bagged. IMO - they are not far behind where most other countries were 10 to 15 years after inclusion. @EnglishCricket - I sort of agree, however, they must still play the top teams. They should be playing home & away test series every year against Zimbabwe & have regular series between WI & NZ. There are plenty of promising aspects about Banga cricket, they still have some things to sort out, like the importance of their FC season v pro-club cricket.

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Well done Bangladesh!!!! - Never mind how well Bangladesh do, there will always be detractors and the best way to answer these sceptics is by keep winning, that's exactly what we are doing.This Irish tour had proved plenty of positives than negatives for Bangladesh and our coach Pybus has identified them.We will build on these positives and work on these few negatives and we will be lot stronger for it.It was good for Bangladesh that the last two games was close encounter and we won them, because it brings out the better character of players who you least expected from.If the Irish had won these close games all of the Bangladeshi critics would have been praising the Irish to the hill just like when Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe a year ago when Mushfiqur Rahim was caught when they only needed four from the last over.

  • reazul on July 22, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    graemo the last 2 matches were close only because Bangladesh batting underperformed and batsmen threw their wickets , otherwise BD would have won easily.

  • M.J.U. on July 22, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    i wud take this result on any given day! in alien conditions, including pitch, weather & LOCAL UMPIRES, it is simply appreciatable. Not only, it's our 1st Banglawash (earlier we'd blanked the same team 3-0 in ODIs) in t20s, we've also found matchwinners in Elias Sunny & Nasir. Zia showed what he is capable of, Mashrafe showed what he is made of Slowly Tamim has started to get his feet right

    We are quickly becoming an exciting team to watch!

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Where are anti BD people (sorry joker) now. I want to see them

  • Joe on July 22, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    My advise to Ireland is that instead of concentrating so much against the likes of England or Australia you should instead put your focus on to the likes of West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand and India because you have a much better chance of gaining victory over those weak opponents. Also I want to say, its actually unfair to say that this team is better than that team in T20 because T20 is simply just T20 and anything can happen and this series was proof for example, the first match was a clear mismatch and then the next two were extremely close and could've gone either way. When these two teams next play in an ODI Series then you can have a debate in where both these teams lie.....

  • Hammad on July 22, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Many Congrates to Bangladesh Team for No.4 T20 Ranking and 3-0 CleanSweep vs Irleand in Ireland. Huge Cheers from Pakistan for Bangladesh Team victories, Well Done Tigers

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2012, 10:28 GMT

    @Rezaul BANGLADESH to work harder, coz they are not in the row with Ireland. They are now a bit grown up and they must keep a gap in the scores. If Irish comes to close, that is teh thing to be fear ...!!!

    I hope you are Bangladeshi, because if so you are the only one with a realistic assesment of their performance here. BD were stronger than I expected, but they came very close to losing the series even so! Still all kudos to Mortaza, what an outstanding performance.

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Well done Mash ... still you are one of our best performer ... carry on bro ..

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