So many times, Bangladesh have lost matches that went right down to the wire, that cricket lovers and even the players had started to doubt whether luck was ever going to be on their side during crunch final moments.
Fizz’s fantastic final over yesterday, saw Bangladesh successfully defend eight runs in the last over in a tight match where Afghans looked like they were in the driving seat with wickets in hand.
“End of the match, Mustafiz was a magician. Lost so many matches [where we] couldn't score 8-9 runs but we defended it today,” captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza said during the post-match ceremony.
Rashid Khan had hit Fizz’s first ball towards wide mid off to run two but the left-arm paceman came up with an apt reply, forcing Rashid to give an easy caught and bowled opportunity by cramping him for room. The wicket was important but it also meant a dot ball and Afghanistan needed six from four more deliveries. Mashrafe said that Tigers did not give up even when the equation was getting out of their hands as Shakib picked up a wicket and bowled tightly after being hit for six in the penultimate over.
“[We] hadn't given up - Shakib bowled really well in his last three balls. After that we told Mustafiz to look for wickets because they would have missed it.”
Fizz was bowling with great difficulty as well, suffering from a cramp. Drama continued as the third delivery went off Samiullah Shinwari’s pads and fell straight to Mashrafe at short fine leg. Bangladesh went up in appeal but it was not out. A three-quarter length delivery then saw another dot ball as Gulbadin Naib slashed hard but missed the delivery. The next delivery produced a leg-bye and Afghanistan needed four off the last delivery or three to play a Super Over.
Fizz bowled a leg-cutter and Samiullah Shinwari, the batsman on strike, looking to heave the ball onto the leg side, lost his grip on the bat, while the ball sailed through safely to Mushfiqur Rahim. Fizz clinched a memorable victory and left the Tigers still with a chance to make the Asia Cup final. Bangladesh will take on Pakistan in their last Super Four match on September 26, a match which will be a virtual semifinal with the winner going through to the final.
“Mustafizur cramped a bit, we wanted him to bowl 10 overs but he couldn't. Couldn't even bowl yorker because he had a cramp in his calf. Hopefully we'll have a good crack at the virtual semi-final,” the skipper concluded.