Sharjah: Fantastic fifties by Mohammad Naim (62 off 52) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57 off 37) powered Bangladesh to 171/4 against Sri Lanka in a Group 1 match in the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, here Sunday.
It was Mushfiqur’s maiden fifty at World T20 and first in T20Is since 2019. Sri Lanka, who are coming off an unbeaten run in the first round, now need 172 runs to win.
Put into bat, openers Mohammad Naim and Liton Das gave Bangladesh a good start. The duo rotated strikes regularly and hit occasional boundaries, taking Bangladesh to 38/0 in 5 overs.
In the last over of the powerplay, Lahiru Kumara gave Sri Lanka their first breakthrough, dismissing Das for 16. Das stepped out and tried to loft the ball over cover but didn’t get the elevation as the fielder jumped in time to catch it.
The experienced Shakib Al Hasan then joined Naim in the middle. Shakib began beautifully and hit two quick boundaries but he couldn’t carry his innings any longer and got out to a peach of a delivery bowled by Chamika Karunaratne.
From there, Mushfiqur Rahim and Naim took the responsibility on their shoulders. They took their time before taking Sri Lanka bowlers to the cleaners. Rahim, in particular, was very aggressive in his intent and used the angles of the ground very well to hit sixes — one against Hasaranga over deep mid-wicket and the other off a slower delivery from Fernando over deep square leg.
Naim, on the other hand, complimented his batting partner well and brought his 4th T20I half-century off 44 balls. Binura Fernando, who came to bowl the 17th over, finally broke the dangerous partnership of 73 runs between Naim and Rahim. Naim, the opener, tried to pull but top-edged the ball to get out, leaving Bangladesh at 129-3 after 16.1 overs.
Even after Naim’s wicket, Mushfiqur didn’t stop and continued dealing in boundaries, scoring his fifty off just 32 balls. In between, Bangladesh lost the wicket of Afif Hossain (7) via a run-out.
But, with Rahim and captain Mahmudullah at the crease, Bangladesh were set for a big finish. The duo hit a few glorious boundaries in the last few overs and powered Bangladesh to 171-4 after 20 overs.
Bangladesh 171-4 in 20 overs (Mohammad Naim 62, Mushfiqur Rahim 57; Chamika Karunaratne 1/12) against Sri Lanka