Chittagong, March 11: Bangladesh came up with some sensational rear-guard action to edge out England by 2 wickets in their World Cup match at Chittagong on Friday evening. Chasing 225 in an electric atmosphere, the home side slipped from 155/4 to 169/8, before tail-enders Shafiul Islam (24) and Mahmudullah (21) launched an unlikely resurgence to knock off a partnership of 58 from just 9.2 overs and take Bangladesh home.
Ajmal Shahzad gave England a real chance of winning with a cutting spell of 3/43, but James Anderson and Tim Bresnan flopped. Earlier in the day, the home team did an admirable job at restricting the visitors to 225 all out in 49.4 overs with spinner Abdur Razzak, Shakib Al Hasan and Naeem Islam taking two wickets each, while only Jonathan Trott (67) and Eoin Morgan (63) notched up scores of some note.
The Bangladesh innings got off to a robust start. The initial runs flowed fluently as the home-side raced to 30/0 in 5 overs and 50/0 in 8. Then the English hit back with Tim Bresnan bowling Tamim Iqbal for 38 off 26. Junaid Siddique tried to keep the momentum going by striking another couple of fours but was run out at the end of the 12th over as the score read 70/2. Then Shahzad cleaned up Raqibul Hasan for a duck as the top-order collapse was complete at 74/3.
But captain Shakib Al Hasan and Imrul Kayes dug in their heels and tried hard to put the house in order. Batting sensibly, they took the home side past 100 in the 20th over and pressed on. But just when it looked like they were settling into an unshakable stand, Imrul Kayes inexplicable turned around for a second run that was not there. He was on his way for 60 off a patient 100 balls and Bangladesh were 155/4.
Kayes\' departure triggered a middle-order collapse as in the next 8 overs, Bangladesh lost four wickets - those of Shakib for 32, bowled by Swann; Mushfiqur Rahim for 6, caught behind off Shahzad, Naeem Islam for a duck, bowled by Shahzad and Abdur Razzak for 1, when Graeme Swann had him caught at long on. Bangladesh were in dire straights at 169/8, still requiring 56 runs off just as many balls.
But then came the surprise resurgence from an unlikely pair of heroes - tail-enders Shafiul Islam and Mahmudullah. In fact, the former took on the mantle of aggressor, knocking off a four and a six off Graeme Swann. Before England knew what had hit them, Bangladesh had crossed 200 in the 46th over, requiring just 22 runs from 24 balls. Then Shafiul flayed Bresnan for two fours in the 47th over, reducing the equation to just 12 needed from the last 3 overs. It was smooth sailing from there, with Mahmudullah hitting the winning boundary as Bangaldesh reached home with 2 wickets and 2 balls to spare.