Bangladesh returned to their brilliant best with bat and ball to post an emphatic seven-wicket win over South Africa and square off the three-match series in Dhaka on Sunday. Opener Soumya Sarkar hit an unbeaten 88 while Mahmudullah added 50 as Bangladesh raced to 167-3 with more than 22 overs in hand after the bowlers dismissed South Africa cheaply for 162 runs in 46 overs.
A sense of déjà vu gripped the Tigers when Tamim Iqbal (five) dragged a delivery of Kagiso Rabada onto his stump in the second over and Liton Das (17) played a fuller delivery down the wicket to miss the line and suffer the same fate four balls later.
But Soumya and Mahmudullah made sure Bangladesh did not suffer any more jitters with a firm 135-run third wicket stand, taking them safely home in just 27.4 overs of the innings.
Soumya led the batting charge shrugging off his ill-reputation of not being able to convert his start, hitting 13 fours and a six in his 79-ball innings.
The left-hander swept Imran Tahir over midwicket fence for his only six to complete the emphatic win, Bangladesh’s only second against South Africa in 16 matches and first since they upset the Proteas in World Cup 2007.
The win, which followed Bangladesh’s steady progress in one-day rankings, also cemented their place in the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held in the United Kingdom from June 1-19, 2017.
Nasir Hossain finished with a career best 3-26 and left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman grabbed 3-38 to set up the win, as Bangladesh condemned South Africa to their lowest score against them in a completed innings.
Seeking to level the series, Bangladesh abandoned their strategy of all-out spin attack and returned to the formula
that worked for them well in the preceding series against Pakistan and India.
As a result, Rubel Hossain joined the lineup for leg-spinner Jubair Hossain, and the wicket also looked visibly different from what it was during the two Twenty20 internationals and first one-dayer against the visitors.
Mustafizur Rahman struck only in the fifth over when he forced a leading edge from opener Quinton de Kock and Sabbir Rahman took a simple catch at backward point.
Coming as second change bowler, Rubel Hossain provided the x-factor when he knocked off the off stump off Hashim Amla (22) to create a sense of panic among the South African batsmen.
South Africa began to feel the pressure as Rubel choked Rilee Rossouw in the middle with his brilliant first spell that cost him just 12 runs in four overs.
Rossouw was finally bowled by Nasir off his first ball after scoring four off 24 balls, and David Miller not much better better, before Mahmudullah caught him off Mashrafee bin Murtaza at short midwicket, for nine off 24 balls.
With South Africa wobbling at 74 for four, Faf Du Plessis had the chance to lift the side but once he holed out a catch at long on to Soumya off Nasir for 41 off 64 balls, the game swung Bangladesh’s way.
Mustafiz compounded South African’s problem deceiving JP Duminy (13) with an off-cutter and Rubel trapped Chris Morris leg-before for 12 to ensure there was no late recovery by the South Africans.
Farhaan Behardien, who had seen a leg-before decision against him overturned by the TV umpire, scored 36 which saved South Africa from getting dismissed for a more embarrassing total.
The third and final match of the series will be held in Chittagong on July 15.
-With New Age input