England were humbled by Bangladesh in their first match since becoming Twenty20 world champions.
Jos Buttler’s team featured seven of those that defeated Pakistan in Melbourne last November, but aside from the captain’s power-packed 67 struggled to adapt to the challenging conditions of Chittagong, and were ultimately left to rue scoring just 21 runs from their final four overs.
It left an asking rate of under eight runs per over for the hosts, which courtesy of man-of-the-match Najmul Hossain Shanto, who crunched Mark Wood for four fours in a row, RonyTalukdar, making his second T20 international appearance eight years after his first, and debutant Towhid Hridoy, was whittled down to below a run a ball at the halfway stage.
And even though the dismissals of Hridoy and Shanto in quick succession silenced an enthusiastic crowd at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium, there was an inevitability about the result as the sunset over the Bay of Bengal did its best impression of Bangladesh’s flag.
England coach Matthew Mott has likened this three-match series to last September’s of Pakistan, where team unity was strengthened and a 4-3 victory was claimed by an experimental group missing several big-name players.
Bangladesh’s Najmul Hossain Shanto hits out during his innings of 51 off 30 deliveries
Shanto carved the England bowling attack, including Mark Wood, for eight boundaries
Shanto celebrates his half-century in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Chattogram
But they got off to the worst possible start against a side who despite generally being competitive in their own conditions – as they showed in clawing their way back to 2-1 in the one-day defeat earlier this week – who have poor pedigree in this particular format.
Bangladesh had lost 20 of their previous 21 completed Twenty20 internationals against fellow Test nations – the single success over Afghanistan.
‘We have to be the best fielding side in Asia,’ said head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, on the eve of this contest. In Shanto they have someone to live up to the status.
Shanto gobbled up three catches at long-on in the second half of England’s 156 for six, and threatened to clip a couple of runs off that tally when from the final delivery, he flicked Moeen Ali’s heave back into play only for Talukdar to fluff the relay chance.
Two other drops in one over from left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed undermined Bangladesh’s efforts to restrict the tourists: first, the bowler floored a return chance to reprieve Salt on 20, before Shakib Al Hasan made a hash of a skier at mid-on to gift Buttler (19) a life.
While Salt’s escape did not prove costly – he also took England’s review with him when he departed to the final delivery of the 10th over – Buttler’s did, as he powered to a sixth half-century in his last 10 matches.
Consecutive sixes off Hasan Mahmud took him to his personal, 32-ball landmark, and England to three figures, making light of the loss of Dawid Malan the previous over.
England’s Jofra Archer (second left) is congratulated after taking the wicket of Litton Das
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan celebrates after getting the wicket of Dawid Malan
England’s Dawid Malan puts down a catch off Bangladesh’s Afif Hossain in Chattogram
The home crowd celebrate as their team close in on victory during the first of three T20 games
Such is modern touring that Duckett had only been in the country for 48 hours when he arrived at the crease to unfurl the sweeps and ramps that marked his successful return to international cricket in Pakistan six months ago during a stand of 47 inside four overs.
And England were well placed for a much more substantial score when they were 135 for two in the 16th, only for the innings to fall off a cliff after Duckett and Buttler were dismissed in successive deliveries.
With Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, England’s makeshift combination at numbers five and six, fresh to the crease, Bangladesh’s seamers prospered by taking pace off the ball, littering the death overs with dots and singles and just one four.
Failure to maximise that period was then exposed, despite the loss of two power play wickets, when the Bangladeshis turned England’s extra pace against them, and celebrated when Shakib sliced Chris Jordan to the rope with two whole overs unused.
England captain Jos Buttler hits out during his impressive innings of 67 off 42 deliveries
Bangladesh celebrate taking the wicket of Buttler as they stemmed England’s run rate well
Ben Duckett is clean bowled by Mustafizur Rahman after making 20 in England’s innings
Hasan Mahmud celebrates getting the wicket of England’s Sam Curran for six off 11 balls
England opener Phil Salt made 38 off 35 balls, including five boundaries, in a positive start
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk