Mustafizur Rahman demonstrated his skills once again when he picked up four wickets in Bangladesh’s crucial tri-series match against Ireland in Dublin on Friday.
Under pressure to win the game to avoid slip in the rankings, Bangladesh needed someone to put up his hand and make the difference against a spirited home side.
They could not have expected anyone else to do the job better than Fizz, the uncanny left-arm pacer, who bamboozled many top batsmen with his variation in his short career.
Mustafiz somewhat struggled with his control in the previous series in Sri Lanka and was benched by his Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad after just one poor performance.
But that could do little to damage his confidence as Mustafiz slowly started to get his mojo his back in the tri-series in Dublin, where conditions suited his bowling.
He did not get a chance to bowl in the rain-hit opening match, but did well in the next match, though his match figure of 2-33 would not tell the whole story.
New Zealand batsmen gave him optimum respect and charged the other bowlers to keep the scoreboard rolling and put Bangladesh always under pressure.
With no one else to support him, Mustafiz was unable to help Bangladesh defend their modest score as the Tigers lost the game by four wickets.
But the story was different against Ireland.
Rubel Hossain started with a maiden and Mustafiz complemented him in the next over to take a wicket maiden.
Ireland’s struggle was visible against spin bowling when Mosaddek Hossain and Sakib al Hasan picked up two wickets to keep the batsmen in check.
But it was not until Mustafiz returned to his third spell in the 28th over when Bangladesh had their control in the game.
The spell fetched him three wickets that ruined any chance Ireland had to revive their innings as they were left struggling at 136-7.
A 35-run stand in the eighth wicket gave Ireland innings some respectability but two wickets each by Mashrafee and debutant Sanjamul Islam ensured they were all out without batting 50 overs.
Both Sanjamul and Mashrafee owed their wickets to Mustafiz, who bowled consistently dot balls that created pressure on the batsmen forcing them to make mistake.
In his nine overs, Mustafiz bowled 43 dot balls, which proved his dominance over the batsmen.
Though he missed an opportunity to complete his fourth five-wicket haul, his 4-23 did enough for Bangladesh to restrict Ireland to a gettable total.
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