Bangladesh have yet to taste victory on their tour of South Africa and Thursday (October 26) was no different as the hosts cruised to a 20-run win in the first Twenty20 International, going 1-0 up in the two-match series.
Chasing South Africa’s 195 for 4 at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein, Bangladesh finished with 175 for 9 in 20 overs despite a promising start from Soumya Sarkar.
Sarkar gave his side an ideal start, walloping five fours and two sixes in his 47 off 31. Regular wickets at the other end, though, hurt Bangladesh, who were more or less at par with the required run-rate while Sarkar was in the middle.
Sarkar was trapped leg before wicket by Andile Phehlukwayo in the 10th over, and after that, things got tricky for Bangladesh.
With Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan already back in the hut, it was upto Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah to take the chase forward. But both batsmen fell cheaply, and the visiting side went from being 92 for 2 to to 101 for 5 in the 12th over.
Sabbir Rehman (19 off 16) played a few good strokes, but a rash shot off Beuran Hendricks nipped his cameo in the bud. Mehidy Hasan hit a four and a six to provide some cheer for the Bangladesh fans in the crowd but victory, by then, was a formality.
Earlier, after South Africa elected to bat, Quinton de Kock and AB de Villiers led them to a strong total.
De Kock hit 59 off 44 and de Villiers made 49 in just 27 to dent Bangladesh’s bowling attack. De Villiers hit eight boundaries in his knock while de Kock smashed five boundaries and a six.
South Africa seemed headed for a 200-plus total while de Kock and de Villiers were in the middle, putting on a second-wicket partnership of 79 off 51 balls, but Bangladesh fought back in the middle overs.
Mehidy, the offspinner, took the first two wickets — of Hashm Amla and de Villiers — and gave away just 31 runs in his four overs. Rubel Hossain bowled an outstanding 15th over in which he conceded only three runs and sent de Kock back, trapped leg before wicket.
David Miller (25 not out off 19) and Farhaan Behardien (36 not out off 17), however, reclaimed the initiative for South Africa, adding 62 runs in the last five overs.
“I think the spinners bowled very well, but the last five overs cost us the game,” lamented Shakib, the Bangladesh captain, after the match. “Even the lapse in fielding — it gave them an extra 20 runs or so. There should be aggression and sensible batting as well. The guys batting in the middle overs need to do well. There are some areas we can improve on, and we have a match left, and we will try to come back strong.”
“I thought 195 was a good score,” said JP Duminy, the South African captain, after the match. “We kind of knew they were going to come out all guns blazing at us in the first six overs. For the next game, we want to continue to be ruthless. When we walked out even today, we wanted to restrict them under 170. So I think we did reasonably well with that.”
The two sides will lock horns at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Sunday for the second T20I, the last match on this tour for Bangladesh, who suffered a whitewash in both the Tests (2-0) and the ODI series (3-0) before this.