Bangladesh 153 (Naim 64, Shakib 42, Bilal 3-18, Butt 3-30) beat Oman 127 for 9 (Jatinder 40, Mustafizur 4-36) by 26 runs
A quiet spell
When Oman moved to 57 for 2 in the seventh over, Bangladesh were really looking down the barrel. Mahedi coolly bowled two overs for six runs, slowing down Jatinder and Zeeshan Maqsood in the process. Mahedi is good at mixing his pace, but keeps a fuller length. He has a good record against both left and right-handed batters.
In the midst of a messy bowling performance from Bangladesh, Mahedi stood out. Maqsood couldn’t resist anymore with the changes of pace, finally holing out in Mahedi’s next over, before the offspinner finished off with a six-run over. This 4-0-14-1 spell went by mostly unnoticed, but it was Mahedi who brought Bangladesh back in the game.
Jatinder’s near one-man show
Oman, however, had hope as long as Jatinder was at the crease. So good is Jatinder’s form these days that even when he gets out, it’s off a very well-timed shot. He was dismissed when he swept for a catch to Liton Das at deep square leg off Shakib. But it was an innings worth remembering against a top quality bowling attack. At times Bangladesh looked under pressure against Jatinder.
He started with a switch hit four off Shakib early on, pulled him over deep midwicket in the seventh over, and his only six came on the next ball when he struck Shakib inside-out through extra cover. Off Taskin Ahmed’s bouncer, Jatinder slammed a pull, and was generally strong against the short ball as well. He also survived a dropped catch on 10, but when he got out, so did Oman from the match. They hit just one four and a six after his dismissal.
Mustafizur’s nightmare and Mustafizur’s recovery
Mustafizur trapped Aqib Ilyas with his first ball of the match, but thereafter had a forgettable 15 minutes. He conceded five wides in the first over, as his attempt to bring the seaming ball back into the right-handed batter kept slipping down the leg side. In the next over, Mustafizur dropped Kashyap Prajapati at short third man. It was a regulation diving chance to his favourable left side, but it popped out.
As if all that was not enough, Mahmudullah dropped Jatinder on 10, off Mustafizur. The bowler fumed with his hands over his head, but because this was his captain, he couldn’t really react like he would have wanted. Mustafizur’s four-wicket haul and a good running catch more than made up for his nightmare start, but Bangladesh can ill-afford an erratic main bowler.
Naim to the rescue
When Bangladesh batted, they story of poor powerplays continued. They scored only 29 runs on this occasion, but at least one of the openers made a considerable score. Naim had been struggling in the Dhaka pitches against Australia and New Zealand, except for one innings, but in Muscat, he opened up with some bright shots. He tonked three of his four sixes delightfully over the range between midwicket and wide long-on, also bringing out a thumping straight drive and an equally hard-hit reverse hit. Naim added 80 for the third wicket with Shakib but his dismissal in the 17th over, having already lost Afif Hossain earlier in the over, was slightly unnecessary.
Oman blow hot and cold in the field
Oman could have had a better day had they held on to all their catches. Particularly that of Naim who survived two drops on 18 and 26. Prajapati, who had earlier dropped Liton at deep square leg, spilled Naim at midwicket. And Jatinder let the ball slip through his fingers at the sweeper cover boundary in the eighth over. But their luck changed with two moments of brilliance: Butt’s return catch off a Mahedi bunt and Ilyas’ direct hit from point running out Shakib. The mood lifted, Oman now took all their catches, including Jatinder, who took two near the boundary line.
Bangladesh end meekly
If there was one chance to make up for their poor powerplay, it was the last five overs. But Bangladesh disappointed with just 41 runs, losing six wickets. It started with Naim hitting a beautiful six, but Kaleemullah removed Afif and Naim in the following over. It left Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah to make the most of the last 20 balls, They hit a six and a four, before Mushfiqur was caught behind, while Bilal yorked at Mahmudullah’s wild swing. Mohammad Saifuddin got a golden duck in between, before Oman bowled out Bangladesh off the last ball of the innings.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84