HIDER'S AUSPICIOUS ARRIVAL
Bangladesh's injury concerns and unfortunate scheduling in the Asia Cup combined to provide a debut for left-arm pacer Abu Hider, who had shown in recent T20Is that he was up for a fight. He needed that fighting spirit very early against Afghanistan. In his first over, the second of the innings, Ismatullah Janat hammered his second ball for four through point and his third for another boundary with a pick-up shot over square leg.
It did not faze Hider. He bowled the next ball on a length outside off and got some extra bounce, resulting in an uppish push to cover that Mohammad Mithun caught to give the debutant his first wicket. In the sixth over, he showed his ability to swing the ball and found a massive gap in Rahmat Shah's bat and pad, bowling him from around the wicket. Joy continued for Hider as he had a hand in the third wicket too. Mohammad Shahzad advanced to Shakib Al Hasan in the 20th over and tonked him down to long off, where Hider leapt up and completed a spectacular two-handed take that provided a wicket and averted a six.
SHAHZAD NOT RUNNING
Shahzad is a portly batsman who uses hand-eye coordination and outrageous shots to earn his keep. Running is not his forte. Running in the Abu Dhabi heat even less so. In the fifth ball of the fifth over, Rahmat drove Rubel straight down the ground and ran hard. Shahzad however seemed to want to believe that the ball would make it to the fence, so he stopped running at least twice in the process of completing three runs. Rahmat could have completed five if he had a willing partner; four without a problem. At the end of the over he had a laugh at his colleague. The emotion probably changed when, because of the run not taken, he was on strike in the next over and Hider worked him over in five balls.
MASH CAN'T STOP
A survivor of seven knee operations and a 34-year-old senior statesman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza often dives across after the delivery to stop straight drives -- an onerous imposition on his knees, much to the consternation of his teammates, especially as the ball would have been stopped at mid on or mid off. He privately says that he can't help it. Yesterday, in the 18th over, he dove to stop a straight drive from Hashmatullah Shahidi, but this time he almost ran out the portly Shahzad, who was backing up too far. Instead of consternation, it only drew admiring mirth from his teammates.