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Mustafizur Rahman took two wickets in the 40th over, Bangladesh v India, 2nd ODI, Mirpur, June 21, 2015 ©AFP

Mustafizur stars in landmark series win

WT24 Desk

Mustafizur Rahman was the hero in Mirpur again, (off)cutting through India’s batting with a six-wicket haul to add to his five-wicket haul on ODI debut, sending the visitors crashing to 200 all out in 45 overs after rain had reduced the game to a 47-overs-per-side affair. According to Duckworth-Lewis revision, Bangladesh need 200 to wrap up the series and cement their place for the 2017 Champions Trophy.

Mustafizur struck with the second ball of the game, having Rohit Sharma drive away from the body to point for a duck before coming back to dismiss Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Axar Patel in what could turn out to be a decisive batting Powerplay that yielded only 17 runs and three wickets. When Mustafizur got R Ashwin, the 19-year old became only the second bowler after Zimbabwe’s Brian Vitori to claim five-fors in his first two ODIs.

Mustafizur clapped till his hands hurt and was mobbed by his team-mates. Mirpur raised itself to a big roar, lapping up its new hero. He would return after the rain break to immediately bowl Ravindra Jadeja via a deflection off the pads. He ended with figures of 6 for 43, the second-best by a Bangladesh bowler in ODIs.

However, it was Nasir Hossain who set up the stage for Bangladesh earlier. After trapping Virat Kohli lbw in his second over with a skiddy ball to end a brisk 74-run partnership, he beat a well-set Shikhar Dhawan in the 21st over. Nasir went on to complete his quota for only the second time in ODIs, conceding 33 on both occasions.

Kohli’s 27-ball stay was an indifferent one. He missed out on a couple of half-volleys and even absent-mindedly offered a back-foot defence to a free hit. He poked at Mustafizur’s offcutters outside off and edged one behind in the seventh over but it did not carry to Soumya Sarkar at wide first slip.

Upon Kohli’s dismissal, Dhoni hiked himself up to No.4 for the first time since July 2012. He began positively, unleashing a jabbing punch off the sixth ball he faced and sent it blazing through the off-side ring and followed it with a similar shot for a similar result off his tenth ball. Soon, Dhoni and Dhawan traded caps for helmets and kept the scorecard ticking, taking India to 100 in the 19th over.

Despite the early loss of Rohit, Dhawan was fluent from the outset, lashing four fours on the off side, including successive drives off Mashrafe Mortaza in the tenth over.

Dhawan brought up his fifty off 54 balls but perished soon after when he charged down the track to Nasir and edged it to Litton Das, who had taken over the gloves from Mushfiqur Rahim for this match. Das managed to redeem himself after dropping Dhoni on 20 three balls earlier.

Ambati Rayudu did not last for long and departed scoreless next over. The man he had replaced – Ajinkya Rahane – was left carrying drinks. Taskin Ahmed and Mashrafe took a cue from Mustafizur and suffocated India further by pulling some pace off the ball.

The visitors needed some breathing space, which was provided by Dhoni and Raina through a steady 53-run stand, only the second partnership of note. They relied more on dabs, chips and bunts rather than clubs, belts and helicopter shots. Tight bowling, backed up by predatory fielding meant that no boundaries were scored for a period of 46 balls between the 27th and 35th overs.

The pressure told with Mustafizur accounting for Raina off the third ball of the batting Powerplay with offcutter. By the time Dhoni failed to pick another offcutter and chipped it to Sarkar at short cover, India had slumped to 174 for 6. Axar was out off the next ball, bagging his third duck in his last four innings and the third duck of the innings. Ashwin averted the hat-trick but was out nicking behind for 4 off Mustafizur’s penultimate over. Soon rain arrived at the score of 196 for 8 to hand India a reprieve lasting a little under two hours, but the damage had already been done, ESPN cricinfo reports.

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