Bangladesh register historic series win against Australia
Hosts complete first ever series win against Australia; Nathan Ellis' hat-trick goes in vain
Bangladesh 127 for 9 (Mahmudullah 52, Ellis 3-34, Hazlewood 2-16) beat Australia 117 for 4 (Marsh 51, McDermott 35, Shoriful 2-29) by ten runs
Bangladesh marched to an unassailable 3-0 lead to register their first series win against Australia across formats by defending 128 in a close finish during the third T20I in Dhaka. While Mahmudullah led from the front by scoring 52 and batting deep to ensure the hosts had some firepower left late in the innings, Mustafizur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan and Nasum Ahmed combined to apply the brakes on Australia's run chase. Debutant Nathan Ellis' hat-trick went in vain for the visitors, for whom Mitchell Marsh continued his fine form and contributed 51, while Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa chipped in with the ball.
The Fizz delivers again
Rahman followed figures of 2 for 16 and 3 for 23 in the series with an exceptional return of 0 for 9 from his four overs. In what was the joint second-most economical effort for a Bangladesh bowler in a completed spell, Rahman turned the game around when he conceded just a single in the 19th over of the Australia innings when they needed an entirely possible 23 from 12 balls with Alex Carey and Dan Christian at the crease.
Two of his overs had been reserved for the death, and Mahmudullah brought him on for the 17th with the game still in Australia's hands and Marsh on 49. Rahman utilised the slower ball to good effect and kept it tight to both Marsh and Carey, denying them a free swing of the arms. Before that, he had given away just three singles in the final over of the powerplay, mostly bowling at the stumps and with the pace off, with Marsh first dabbing uncomfortably before being beaten off the last ball of the over.
The captain stands tall
Mahmudullah promoted himself up to No. 4, but was forced to start off cautiously after Bangladesh lost two early wickets on a slow pitch. He was on 11 off 17 balls - seven of those had come off singles - when he decided to go big. When Marsh pitched one in the slot on off, he swung to find the gap between long-on and deep midwicket for his first boundary, which was in the eighth over of the innings. Mahmudullah chose to play anchor and bat deep, with all of Shakib, Afif Hossain and Nurul Hossain departing after playing cameos.
He was still not striking at a run-a-ball when he lofted Ellis over cover for four, after which only two overs of the Bangladesh innings remained. But with time running out, Mahmudullah chose to go after Hazlewood, whose short-of-a-length ball he scooped in the 19th over to try and push the scoring. He then brought up his fifty off 52 deliveries in the final over when he swung one down to deep square leg, before falling to Ellis next ball.
Hat-trick on international debut
Ellis started by conceding eight in his first over, although a boundary came off a top edge from Shakib's bat. Wade then replaced him, but Ellis returned with Bangladesh at 60 for 3 after the first half of the innings. He was taken off yet again after conceding 11, with Afif pulling him for a boundary this time. Three overs were left - both Zampa and Agar were bowled out and Hazlewood had only one to go - as Ellis' captain trusted him to deliver at the death. But an over-and-a-half later, Mahmudullah had lofted and pulled him for two fours.
That is when it all turned around for the debutant. First, he hit back with a very full ball on off, as the Bangladesh captain missed his leg-side heave and the ball crashed into the stumps. Next ball, the tailender Mustafizur founds Marsh at deep midwicket. Ellis had the hat-trick ball against another lower-order batter in Mahedi Hasan, who pulled straight to deep square leg, as he suddenly finished with 3 for 34 after going wicketless until the last three balls of the Bangladesh innings.
Shakib, Nasum tie Australia down
Ahmed bowled the second over of Australia's chase, and he answered his captain's call by getting Wade and conceding only a single. Shakib then came on from the other end against Ben McDermott and an in-form Marsh. After just two singles off the first four balls, Marsh went for the big heave to one that was bowled slow and turned away from him, with the batter surviving a caught behind after he reviewed the original out decision.
What followed was a maiden over by Ahmed. Although McDermott missed out on two opportunities to cut away short balls, Ahmed did not entirely have the batter in control, having squared him up first ball before inducing a leading edge four deliveries later. Marsh did smash a four and a six off Ahmed in the seventh over, but both Ahmed and Shakib never allowed the set batters Marsh and McDermott to get away, tying them down with repeated dot balls as Shakib got rid of McDermott in his final over. They were both bowled out by the 14th over, and when they ended with combined figures of 8-1-41-2, Australia needed 54 from 36 balls, which they ultimately fell short of achieving.
Zampa, Hazlewood keep Bangladesh in check
Hazlewood struck in his first over when he had Mohammad Naim caught behind off the last ball of the second over, with Naim almost getting cramped for room as he got a thin edge to a fullish ball. Immediately after, Zampa struck first ball when he trapped Soumya Sarkar leg before when the batter went for the sweep. But the ball turned just enough into him to beat his bat off a full length, and Sarkar couldn't get the decision overturned.
They were both taken off after their first overs, with Zampa being brought back for the ninth after Marsh was taken for 15 in the previous one. Shakib tried to loft the legspinner down the ground first ball on his comeback, but could only get it as far as long-off, where Ashton Agar took a few steps forward to complete the catch. Hazlewood, on the other hand, returned to bowl the 14th over, where he got Shamim Hossain and conceded just two singles to keep Bangladesh on the back foot. Eventually, Hazlewood and Zampa combined with figures of 4 for 40 across eight overs to ensure the hosts didn't walk away with a big total.
Himanshu Agrawal is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo