Bangladesh’s ace pacer Mustafizur Rahman is one who can turn the tide of a game in crucial junctures. His exploits in the Indian Premier League in 2016 had brought him international fame and as the Tigers step into the third T20I in Nagpur with a chance of making history, a lot depends on their strike bowler turning up for the game.
Mustafizur had taken the IPL by storm in his debut season and his performances against India during the ODI series at home had earned him the respect of his opponents. There are many in Nagpur with Bangladeshi lineage and one Indian journalist even informed that Mustafizur had a good fan following here. “They [India] studied him well and know which delivery he is bowling,” he remarked.
Fizz’s variations have not paid dividends in this T20I series so far and that will be a big concern for the team heading into the game today. However, head coach Russell Domingo had faith in his man. “No, no concern [regarding Mustafizur]. He’s a quality bowler. Bowlers are under pressure in this format, particularly with a wet ball against top quality batters on a good wicket,” Domingo said.
Mustafizur was only handed two overs in the first T20I at New Delhi on a wicket suited to his slower cutters and the left-armer went for runs in the second with Rohit Sharma’s aggression paying off. While a couple went past the bat’s edge, Fizz was perhaps unlucky not to get a breakthrough.
Still, his fitness is worrisome. Suffering from the effects of a recent ankle injury, he has not had the chance to get any games under his belt even in the domestic circuit.
If Bangladesh are to push a formidable India, Fizz will need to bring his A game but his line and length has often been erratic, leading to pressure being released. The problem with the strike bowler cannot be properly understood but neither can its effects be understated. According to sources, his place in the side might be on the line following recent performances.
“He is a match-winner. We know there is a big performance just around the corner,” Domingo said regarding Fizz yesterday. If it is, the Tigers can do with one right now.