Australia ended their winless streak in the ongoing series by registering a three-wicket win over Bangladesh in the fourth Twenty20 match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday.
Daniel Christian’s whirlwind 39 off 15 balls and Ashton Agar’s run-a-ball 27 powered Australia to 105-7, their first win in the tour after suffering defeats in the first three T20s.
Mustafizur Rahman once again bamboozled the Australian batters with his variations and finished with 2-9 in his four overs while Mahedi Hasan took 2-17 but it wasn’t enough to defend a paltry total.
Earlier, the hosts hobbled to 104-9 after opting to bat first with Mohammad Naim top-scoring with a sluggish 28 off 36 balls.
The hosts looked destined to settle for a total below 100 but Mahedi’s cameo of 23 off 16 balls and Afif Hossain’s contribution of 20 off 17 balls took the score into the triple digits.
Leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and Andrew Tye, the former playing his first match in the series and the latter returning after getting dropped in the last match, took three wickets each for Australia.
Chasing 105, the Aussies lost skipper Mathew Wade for three in the very first over.
Chirstian entered at number three in place of Mitchell Marsh and took the attack to the Bangladeshi bowlers, especially Shakib Al Hasan.
The right-hander heaved five sixes in the fourth over from Shakib and brought down the required rate, which was a little over five at the start of the chase, to below four.
Nasum Ahmed broke the 44-run stand between Christian and Ben McDermott by removing the latter for five and Mustafiz dismissed Christian in his second ball of the day to keep him for doing further damage.
Shakib, who had an off day with the bat and ball, ran Moises Henriques out for four and Mustafiz and Mahedi dismissed Alex Carey (one) and Marsh (11) in the next two overs to reduce the Aussies to 65-6 in 10.2 overs.
But a 34-run stand from Agar and Ashton Turner (nine) for the seventh wicket overturned all the hard work of the host bowlers.
Although Agar departed in the 18th over of Shoriful Islam with Shamim Hossain taking a stunning catch, the writing was very much on the wall as the tourists’ were just six runs away from the target.
Turner and Tye (four) guided Australia to the shores of victory with six balls in hand.
Earlier, Soumya Sarker departed for eight, his fourth single digit score in the series, off Hazlewood with the score on 24-1 in 3.3 overs.
In the second wicket stand, Shakib and Naim added just 24 runs off 38 balls as both players struggled to score against Australia’s spin trio of Agar, Swepson and Turner.
The situation worsened for Bangladesh when Shakib edged a ball from Hazlewood to Wade after making 15 off 26 balls.
After his departure, Swepson landed a double blow by trapping skipper Mahmudullah and Nurul Hasan leg before wicket in consecutive deliveries for ducks, reducing the Tigers’ to 51-4 in 11 overs.
Naim and Afif struggled to reconstruct the innings in the slow Mirpur track and the former’s stay at the crease ended when he skied a Swepson delivery which landed on Wade’s gloves.
Afif struck Agar for a six but ended up giving a catch later in that over while attempting to clear the boundary again.
Mahedi scored a four and a six in the final over to pushed the total over 100 but it was not enough.
The fifth and final match of the series will take place on Monday.
-With New Age input