Bangladesh bowled well as a unit and wrapped up Ireland for only 181 runs in their third match of the tri-series at Malahide in Dublin yesterday. It was nice to see Mashrafe Bin Mortaza regain his bowling rhythm after a forlorn performance against New Zealand in the previous game, but the captain would be even happier with the performance of Mustafizur Rahman, who finished with figures of 9-2-23-4. The Tigers were disappointing against New Zealand in the previous game but Mashrafe singled out Mustafizur's bowling in that match as a positive. Few things would have been better for the Tigers' skipper than to see the talented Mustafizur recapturing his old form ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy campaign.
Since returning from shoulder surgery, Mustafizur had some notable contributions for his team during the last Sri Lanka tour but everyone still looked forward to watching the crafty Fizz, especially after an IPL stint where he had to sit in the dugout most of the time.
His performances in the last two games must have given some relief to the team think-tank ahead of the tough challenge in England, where they will face teams like Australia, England and New Zealand in the group encounters, as Fizz was looking at his wiliest, if not his very best.
Mustafizur gave the first breakthrough in yesterday's match in the second over when the dangerous Paul Stirling edged a ball wide outside off stump to short third man where Sabbir Rahman made no mistake.
Again, there was a wide-of-off-stump delivery and Niall O'Brien threw the bat at the ball to send it in the air straight to Tamim Iqbal at third man for a simple catch.
Kevin O'Brien was Mustafizur's third victim but the bowler must thank Mosaddek Hossain for taking a brilliant catch. Kevin hit high in the air towards the cover boundary and Mosaddek came charging off the cover boundary and dived full length to take the catch.
A short ball down the leg side brought his fourth wicket. Gary Wilson looked to hook the ball but only got the edge to place it at the hands of Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps.
Taking wickets will have always boosted his confidence, but the most important thing was that Mustafizur swung the ball -- there were encouraging inswingers which he has been trying to develop for some time, along with his usual cutters. While it is true that facing a bowler like Mustafizur in an ODI for the first time is hard for any team, but it was still nice to see that confidence grow within Mustafizur.