A sensational performance by all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (46 runs and 4 wickets) led Bangladesh to an emphatic 84-run win over Papua New Guinea in the 9th match of ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at Al Amerat Cricket Ground, here on Thursday.
With this win, Bangladesh became the first team from Group B to seal their place in the Super 12 stage of the tournament. While a top-two position is assured for Bangladesh, whether they finish first or second on the table will depend on the result of the second game of the day between Scotland and Oman.
Riding on a quickfire fifty by skipper Mahmudullah (50 off 28) and a vital knock by Shakib Al Hasan (46 off 37), Bangladesh posted a total of 181/7 in 20 overs. Apart from Mahmudullah and Shakib, the likes of Liton Das (29) and Afif Hossain (21) also made valuable contributions with the bat.
Chasing a challenging target for victory, PNG crumbled under the pressure as their openers Lega Siaka and Assad Vala lasted just 15 balls. Siaka was trapped lbw by Saifuddin's in-swinger, while Taskin Ahmed removed Vala courtesy a fine catch by Hasan behind the stumps.
Charles Amini then became Shakib's first victim of the day as Naim sprinted round from wide long-on to take a spectacular diving catch at the beginning of the fifth over. Three balls later, Simon Atai gave Mahedi Hasan an easy catch at square leg off the same bowler as PNG fell to 14 for four.
Shakib returned four overs later to take his third wicket, with Bau caught by Naim in the deep, before the big-hitting Norman Vanua fell to Mahedi Hasan.
Kiplin Doriga (46 off 34) offered some resistance and cleared the ropes a few times, but he only delayed the inevitable. Infact, PNG never looked comfortable during the chase and were finally bowled for 97-10 in 19.3 overs, losing by a huge margin of 84 runs.
Earlier, batting first, Bangladesh lost the wicket of Mohammad Naim (0) in the second ball of the innings. Left-arm pacer Kabua Morea bowled a half-volley on the leg stump but Naim picked Sese Bau outside the ring to get out.
The second-wicket pair of Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das took about an over to get settled before going for big hits. Das got on one knee to slog sweep over the fine-leg boundary, before Shakib sent one over long on. They ran well and hit boundaries as well to ensure Bangladesh's best powerplay score of the tournament, reaching 45/1 in the first six overs.
Assad Vala finally broke the 50-run stand by getting rid of Das (29), who was caught in the deep as Bau ran in from the boundary to claim a good low catch. While Shakib continued to be the steadying factor for the team, he didn't get much support from Mushfiqur Rahim (5), who hit a pull shot straight to Hiri Hiri in the deep, leaving Bangladesh at 72/3 after 10.2 overs.
From there, Mahmudullah and Shakib rotated strike regularly and kept the scoreboard ticking. They added 29 runs for the 4th wicket before Shakib (46) got out courtesy a stunning catch by Charles Amini.
All eyes were on Mahmudullah after Shakib's wicket and the Bangladesh captain didn't disappoint his team. He became more aggressive with each delivery and scored a quickfire 50 off 28 before getting out in the 18th over. In the last four overs, Afif Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin dealt in boundaries and sixes and took Bangladesh to 181-7 in 20 overs.