Mahmudullah 'trusted' umpire's call during last-over drama
Nawaz pulled out of his stance really late after a Mahmudullah delivery that hit the stumps
"trusted" umpire Tanvir Ahmed's decision to signal a dead ball when Mohammad Nawaz pulled out from his stance at during the tense concluding moments of the third T20I. The passage was part of a dramatic last over in which Mahmudullah took three wickets, but still conceded a four and a six as Pakistan pulled off a thriller.
Pakistan needed eight to win, but Mahmudullah took two wickets in the first three balls. Then Iftikhar Ahmed struck a 90-metre six before getting caught at point, leaving Pakistan needing two of the final ball. After both sides took their time before the last ball, Mahmudullah surprised Nawaz by bowling the last ball behind the stumps.
Nawaz pulled out of the stance, as the ball struck the stumps. Bangladesh appealed, but umpire Ahmed declared it a dead ball. At the press conference, when asked about it, Mahmudullah termed it a "close call."
"He moved at the very last moment. I just asked the umpire if it was a fair ball," he explained. "Nothing more than that. We respect the umpire's call. It is the final call."
Mahmudullah was seen asking Nawaz if he was ready, and when convinced of his answer, went back to his bowling mark. There was more drama in store, however, when Mahmudullah stopped short of bowling the delivery again, probably to serve a warning of sorts to Khushdil Shah at the non-striker's end.
Finally when the Bangladesh captain did bowl, Nawaz deposited him to the extra-cover boundary for the match-winning four. Afterwards, Nawaz and Mahmudullah seemed to have a cordial word in the end and there was no malice from either side.
"It is somewhat heartbreaking," Mahmudullah said of the result. "We went close. But it didn't happen unfortunately. I think if we could have won one or two matches, which would have made us feel better."
Mahmudullah said that it was a different environment in the dressing room when Bangladesh beat Australia and New Zealand in the build-up to the T20 World Cup, back in August and September.
"It was a vibrant dressing room during the Australia and New Zealand series, but that's what happens when you are winning. It is different when you are losing. Players are down. They have doubts. But they tried hard in this series. It just didn't happen."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84