Bangladesh seal first tour win
Bangladeshis 169 for 6 (36 overs) (Omar 43, Ashraful 40) beat Worcestershire 168 (44.1 ovs) (Nazmul 3-24) by four wickets
As England will testify, confidence is everything in cricket, and so maybe, just maybe, Bangladesh's first victory will enable them to turn the corner on their arduous tour of England. They secured a four-wicket win at New Road, as Habibul Bashar guided them home, with 14 overs to spare, after a middle-order wobble against Worcestershire
Bashar finished unbeaten on 26 as he and Manjural Islam Rana added 44 for the seventh wicket. Bangladesh appeared on course for a more comfortable win as Javed Omar and Mohammad Ashraful manoeuvred them to 106 for 3. But, as their top-order slump to 24 for 3 emphasised, one Bangladesh wicket on this tour as often brought a clatter so at 125 for 6 the game was back in the balance.
However, Bangladesh were always well ahead of the required rate so Bashar knew he did not need to take any undue risks and Rana showed he was more than capable with the bat. They managed the see off the threat of Shoaib Akthar - who was making his Worcestershire debut - although he did snaffle Rajin Saleh in his first spell as Bangladesh's chase started in nervous style.
They had enjoyed their best day in the field as Worcestershire were bowled out for just 168 in 44.1 overs. Each of Bangladesh's five bowlers picked up at least one wicket, with Nazmul Hossain and Khaled Mahmud the stars of the show with three apiece.
Nazmul set the tone with his early double-strike to remove both openers, Stephen Moore and Steven Davies, and Mahmud, the former captain, prevented the middle-order from rallying with two strikes in his first spell. Worcestershire were not at their strongest - Graeme Hick was one notable absentee - but Zander de Bruyn, who featured in South Africa's Test series against England this winter, was on hand to top-score with 34.
However, when Bangladesh began their reply, their task suddenly took on greater proportions. Shahriar Nafees, who was this morning unveiled as captain of the Bangladesh A side that tours England in July, was dismissed by the first ball he faced, from Nadeem Malik, as Bangladesh slipped to 0 for 1.
But, this time, Bangladesh did not implode as Ashraful showed his flair in a 39-ball 40 and Omar provided another display of his grit before Bashar - who, as captain, has had plenty on his shoulders this last month - was fittingly at the crease as Bangladesh registered a moral-boosting win in their last match before Thursday opening Natwest Series game, against England, at The Oval.