Chattogram, March 31 (IANS) Paul Stirling and Matthew Humphreys played crucial roles in guiding Ireland to a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the third and final T20I match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Friday.
Humphreys took two wickets in his first three balls on his T20I debut as Ireland bowled Bangladesh out for 124 in 19.2 overs. In a standout performance with the ball, all seven of Ireland’s bowlers contributed to the wicket tally, Bangladesh falling four balls short of batting their 20 overs.
Stirling then knocked off the bulk of the runs with the bat, scoring 77 off 41 as Ireland chased down their target with six overs to spare. The result was Ireland’s first-ever win over Bangladesh on home soil though the hosts’ won the T20I series 2-1.
In stark contrast to the fast starts made in the first two matches of the series, Bangladesh capitulated in the powerplay having elected to bat first. Looking to be aggressive up front once more, four out of the first five wickets to fall were caught in the deep on the leg side as the batters attempted to clear the fence.
Litton Das picked out the man at the boundary off Mark Adair’s first ball, and Harry Tector struck at the end of the next over to dismiss Najmul Hossain Shanto. Curtis Campher joined the wicket-taking ranks by dismissing Rony Talukdar, leaving Bangladesh 24/3 at the end of the fourth over.
Despite a short boundary blitz from Towhid Hridoy, the wickets continued to tumble. Mark Adair picked up his second with the penultimate ball of the powerplay, as Shakib Al Hasan whipped straight to midwicket, before dismissing Hridoy post-powerplay.
But Humphreys stole the bowling show, however, sending down a memorable first over in T20I cricket. He cleaned up fellow T20I debutant Rishad Hossain with his first delivery, becoming the 25th bowler in history to take a wicket with the first ball of their T20I career.
He struck again two balls later to dismiss Taskin Ahmed, caught at deep midwicket once again by Campher and finished his first over with figures of 2-3 as Bangladesh were in tatters at 64-7. A steady maiden T20I half-century off 40 balls from Shamim Hossain dragged the hosts past the three-figure mark.
He was the final batter to fall, giving a catch to backward square-leg off Fionn Hand to ensure all seven of Ireland’s bowlers had a mark in the wickets column. Set 125 to chase, Stirling led the march to a well-deserved victory. Despite the loss of Ross Adair and Lorcan Tucker in the powerplay, he powered Ireland forward, hitting five boundaries in the first six overs of the innings.
He reached his 22nd T20I half-century off 31 balls before unleashing a flurry of boundaries to accelerate towards the target. Shoriful Islam was hit for four consecutive boundaries by Stirling immediately after he reached his fifty, starting with a huge six over fine leg before he scooped a full ball for four over the same boundary.
Stirling was finally dismissed going for another maximum down the ground, caught in the deep off Rishad Hossain, but the damage had already been done. Campher finished the match with a six to complete a dominant victory for Ireland. After losing the T20I series 2-1, Ireland and Bangladesh will face off in the only Test of the tour starting from April 4 in Dhaka.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 124 all out in 19.2 overs (Shamim Hossain 51, Rony Talukdar 14, Mark Adair 3-25, Matthew Humphreys 2-10) lost to Ireland 126/3 in 14 overs (Paul Stirling 77, Rishad Hossain 1-19) by seven wickets