Bangladesh outsmarted Australia in the low-scoring first T20I of the five-match series in Mirpur. The home team beat the Matthew Wade-led side by 23 runs and went up 1-0 in the series. This was the first time Bangladesh beat Australia in the shortest format.
Bangladesh successfully defended 131 which is the lowest total defended by the hosts in T20Is. Nasum Ahmed was the pick of the bowlers for Bangladesh, picking up a four-wicket haul.
Put in to bat, opener Mohammad Naim played a magnificent pick-up shot in the second delivery of the match off Mitchell Starc and the ball went all the way for six. But both he and his partner Soumya Sarkar failed to rotate the strike. Soumya was particularly vulnerable against Josh Hazlewood who was extracting a lot of bounce and seam movement off the pitch.
Soumya's innings was going absolutely nowhere and it was Hazlewood who sent him back. The left-hander moved away to make room for himself. Hazlewood followed him, cramped Soumya for space and the southpaw guided the ball straight to the stumps. Bangladesh were 15 for one in the fourth over when Soumya got out making two off nine balls.
Naim struck another six off Starc when the pacer returned to bowl his second over. But Bangladesh batters were kept quiet by the Australia bowlers. The hosts hit only two fours and two sixes in the first six overs, all of them coming from Naim's bat. Bangladesh didn't have a productive powerplay, scoring 33 for one.
But Naim got out in the next over completely against the run of play. The southpaw couldn't execute a reverse sweep at a delivery that was too full from Adam Zampa and ended up getting cleaned up. Naim scored a run-a-ball 30.
Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah kept the scoreboard ticking over and added 36 in 5.2 overs before the latter got out in the 13th over. Mahmudullah smashed a six off Hazlewood in the first ball of the over. The Bangladesh skipper, in an attempt to get a move-on, played another lofted shot but Moises Henriques took a stunner to dismiss him. Bangladesh were 73 for three when Mahmudullah was dismissed for 20.
Nurul Hasan failed to make a big score as he slashed at a wide slower ball from Andrew Tye and Mitchell Marsh at point took the catch.
Afif Hossain and Shakib tried to accelerate towards the back end of the innings. Shakib top-scored for Bangladesh with 36 off 33 before getting played on by Hazlewood in the last ball of the 17th over. Shakib struck three fours.
Shamim Hossain, in the next over, was bowled by a Mitchell Starc yorker.
Bangladesh scored 42 off the last five overs. Afif played a good knock of 23 off 17 that included a lofted drive over cover and a scoop, both off Starc. Bangladesh posted a below-par 131 for seven after 20 overs.
Josh Hazlewood starred with the ball, picking up three key wickets. Starc too picked up a couple and reached the milestone of 50 T20I wickets.
The start with the ball couldn't have been better for Bangladesh with the ball. Mahedi Hasan, the off-spinner, opened the bowling and bowled Alex Carey in the first ball of Australia's innings. Carey played for the turn which wasn't there and the ball went through his defences.
Josh Phillipe hit a six off Nasum in the second over but the left-arm spinner had the last laugh as he got the right-hander dismissed in the same over.
Shakib Al Hasan too struck the first ball, cleaning up Moises Henriques. His dismissal left Australia under pressure at 10 for three in the third over.
Australia had to do some rebuilding and the onus was on captain Wade and Marsh to do so. The duo struggled with timing but hung in there until Nasum broke the 39-run partnership in the 10th over. When Wade got out for a 23-ball-13, the visitors still needed 82 off 62 balls.
Ashton Agar, in the 14th over, got out hit wicket as his back leg hit the stumps and the bails were dislodged. The visitors were 71 for five then.
Australia required 51 off the last five overs. Nasum Ahmed came in to bowl the 16th over and sent back the well-set Mitchell Marsh. This was Nasum's fourth wicket. The left-arm spinner conceded just four off that over and finished with career-best bowling figures of four for 18.
Ashton Turner's dismissal in the 18th over was the last nail in the coffin for Australia. Mustafizur Rahman accounted for his wicket.
Australia were all-out on a mere 108 and fell short by 23 runs. Nasum Ahmed was named player of the match for his stellar bowling performance.
Nasum was adjudged man of the match for his brilliant bowling display.
The two sides will face each other again on Wednesday in the second T20I of the series.