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Tanzim, Mustafizur star in Bangladesh’s Super Eight entry

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KINGSTOWN (SAINT VINCENT), June 17: Pacer Tanzim Hasan Sakib’s career-best figures of 4 for 7 with an astounding 21 dot balls headlined Bangladesh’s dominant bowling performance as they entered the Super Eights of the T20 World Cup with a comfortable 21-run win against Nepal in their final group league game.

Having nearly shocked South Africa in their previous game, Nepal bowlers were again on target, bowling out Bangladesh for 106 but Tanzim along with seasoned Shakib al Hasan (2/9) and Mustafzur Rahaman (3/7) bowled out Nepal for 85 in 19.2 overs.

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Nepal were on course at 78 for 5 at one stage before losing their last five wickets for seven runs as a determined Bangladesh team used all its reservoir of experience after a disappointing batting show.

Bangladesh should have won the match when Nepal were reduced to 26 for 5 after seven overs courtesy the right arm outswing specialist Tanzim but Kushal Malla (27) and world record holder Dipendra Singh Airee (25) added 52 runs to raise visions of a first big win for the country against a major Test playing nation.

But as it happens with ICC’s Associate Member nations, the batters with little exposure of facing quality bowling didn’t know what to do with an experienced player like Mustafizur.

Needing 22 off 12 balls, ‘The Fizz’ was an artist at work as he bowled his customary slow off-cutters, which would pitch on middle stump and cut across the right hander.

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Airee, who holds the world record of fastest T20I fifty off 9 balls and only third cricketer after Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard to hit six sixes in an over, understood the difference of facing a world class operator to plundering runs against Mongolia and Qatar.

Mustafizur didn’t even let Airee lay bat on ball during the five deliveries that also had a slow bouncer. He got Airee off the last delivery.

In fact, four among the last five Nepalese batters failed to open their accounts with the fifth remaining not out without troubling the scorers.

“Very happy the way we played this round. I hope we can continue with our bowling performance and hope that our batting performance will be fine in the next round,” Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto said at post-match presentation ceremony.

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The skipper wasn’t happy that none of the Bangladeshi batters could even cross 20 but has confidence that his bowling unit can defend any totals.

“We have everything. All the fast bowlers have worked really hard in the last two or three years. In this format, the bowling unit is very important and I hope they continue their form. We have to plan for the next round and execute our plans,” he said.

As far as Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel is concerned, he conceded that inexperience became their undoing.

“As a batting unit, we could have done better, especially the top order batters. We could have batted tighter. Bangladesh bowled really well with the new ball and we were under pressure after that. They were asking us challenging questions,” a dejected Paudel said at post-match presentation ceremony.

“Top order batters could have done better and taken more responsibility. We need to step up, need to know where to score runs and how to assess conditions,” the skipper said as he promised the ardent fans of a better show in the coming tournaments. (PTI)

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