Starting well with the ball, picking up early wickets and then letting the lower-order batters score too many - a pattern that was noticeable in many of the matches that Bangladesh played in the recent past. Bangladesh once again lost the plot after a sensational start.
After restricting Pakistan to 24 for four after six while defending 128, the Tigers failed to sustain the pressure till the end. The seventh-wicket partnership between Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz proved to be the decisive factor in the end.
In fact, Bangladesh didn't have enough runs on the board. 127 was never going to be a defendable total on a pitch that wasn't as sluggish as those in the New Zealand and Australia series. It was not a bad surface to bat on, sometimes a bit two-paced with some help for the bowlers. Bangladesh were brilliant in the second half of their innings, scoring 87 runs in the final 10 overs despite being in a spot of bother at 40 for four after ten overs.
But their performance in the first ten wasn't good enough and that was the reason why they couldn't put a sizable total on the board. A third-lowest score for Bangladesh in the powerplay in T20Is didn't help. Mahmudullah, the Bangladesh skipper, admitted that saying, "I think when we chose to bat first, it looked a pretty good wicket to bat on but there was help for bowlers too. Hopefully, we can come up with a better plan tomorrow. It would have been better to reach 140."
Bangladesh bowlers bowled their hearts out especially in the first 15 overs and were well and truly in the game. But the late flourish from Nawaz and Shadab snatched the match away from Bangladesh. "With 127, we thought if we could get a couple of wickets early on, which our bowlers did, Taskin, Fizz, Mahedi, we were very close but the credit goes to their last two batters," he said.
One of Mahmudullah's decisions that raised a few questions was not bringing Aminul Islam Biplob, the leg-spinner, into the attack in the middle overs. In reply to a question regarding this in the post-match press conference, Mahmudullah said, "I had the plan of bringing him on. But at that time, two left-handers were batting. So I came into the attack."
Mahmudullah heaped praise on Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Nurul Hasan and Afif Hossain and said that the team needs to do slightly better in batting.
The momentum completely shifted towards Pakistan when Mustafizur Rahman gave away 15 runs in the 18th over. Until that point, Mustafizur gave away just 11 off three overs and got the prized scalp of Mohammad Rizwan. Mahmudullah backed Mustafizur, saying, "It's not disappointing. All the bowlers did well. They picked up early wickets. Such things can happen in the slog overs. The batters were trying to hit boundaries at that time too. They played some good shots too. But I think Mustafizur bowled well."
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam lauded the middle-order batters for putting their hands up after the early departure of the top-order. "The wicket was a bit difficult, not easy to bat on. So the credit goes to our middle order - Fakhar, Khushdil and how Nawaz finished," said Babar.
But it all started when Hasan Ali got rid of the first Bangladeshi batter in the form of Mohammad Naim. There was no Shaheen Shah Afridi in this match and therefore, Hasan had to lead the bowling attack. The right-arm fast bowler was under the pump after dropping a catch in a crunch moment in the World Cup semi-final and needed a match-winning performance to regain the lost confidence.
Hasan then came back at the death and picked up two more wickets. He was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan in the match. "I would like to thank Allah first of all. Obviously, it's a pleasant moment for me. My performance wasn't up to the mark in the World Cup but you have ups and downs in your career. I have been here during the BPL and I know it's generally a slow pitch. So I bowled stump to stump and got wickets," said Hasan.
The second T20I between the two teams will be held on Saturday at 2 pm local time.