Harmeet and Anderson the heroes as USA stun Bangladesh

Bangladesh

USA 156 for 5 (Anderson 34*, Harmeet 33*, Mustafizur 2-41) beat Bangladesh 153 for 6 (Hridoy 58, Mahmudullah 31, Taylor 2-9) by five wickets

United States of America, the No. 19 ranked cricket team in T20Is, shocked Bangladesh, the ninth ranked team in the world, with a five-wicket victory in Texas. More impressively, the hosts dominated most of the proceedings, as they took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, picking up their second win against a Full Member in T20Is, following their victory against Ireland in 2021.

Harmeet Singh, the former India Under-19 cricketer, struck the winning runs in a chase of 154 after his three consecutive sixes turned the tide in favour of the USA. He finished unbeaten on 33 off 13 balls, adding 62 runs in 4.4 overs for the unbroken sixth wicket with Corey Anderson, who was not out on 34.

The USA also bowled superbly to restrict Bangladesh to 156 for 4. The visitors had slipped to 68 for 4, with Litton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto continuing to struggle. However, Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah continued to rescue the side from tough situations as they have done all year, helping the team to a respectable 153.

Hridoy top-scored with 58, lasting till the 20th over. He added 67 runs for the fifth wicket with Mahmudullah, who also showed that he can adapt to conditions faster than most in this batting line-up.

Litton can’t make chance count

Litton couldn’t do justice to the faith shown on him by the Bangladesh team management, as he fell for 14 in the fifth over. He had already survived a dropped catch when he was on 2, when the US captain Monank Patel dropped a sitter behind the stumps. Litton also survived a run-out when the cover fielder couldn’t hit the stumps as he was stranded a few feet away from the crease.

Litton had struck a nice straight six in the third over but looked increasingly edgy. He missed the ramp-scoop in the fifth over against Ali Khan before falling lbw to Jasdeep Singh’s superb first over. Jasdeep’s delivery jagged back into Litton.

Soumya Sarkar followed him back to the dugout three balls later when he struck Steven Taylor right down deep midwicket’s throat. Najmul Hossain Shanto, another top-order Bangladesh batter now out of form, got stumped off Taylor. He couldn’t time any ball as he made three off 11.

Hridoy, Mahmudullah step up, again

Hridoy made things worse before making them better. When he nudged the ball towards the cover, Hridoy stood still as Shakib Al Hasan came down the pitch looking for a quick single. The run-out made it 68 for 4 in the 12th over. Hridoy made it up with two sixes off Jasdeep, but then he was caught in the covers in the 14th over.

Thankfully for the batter, left-arm spinner Harmeet bowled the first of his two no-balls. Mahmudullah struck Khan for a four and a six in the 17th over, but fell trying to heave Saurabh Netravalkar over long-on, where Nitish Kumar took a good catch. Mahmudullah made 31 off 22 balls, but more importantly added 67 runs for the fifth wicket with Hridoy. Jaker Ali and Hridoy took 17 runs off the last over, but Khan at least managed to remove Hridoy with the last ball of the innings.

Ghous’ short-lived fireworks

Monank Patel couldn’t take advantage of being dropped by his opposite number Shanto in the third over, when he was run out from Taylor’s straight drive. The ball brushed against Shoriful Islam’s fingers as Patel stood out of his crease.

Within two balls, USA’s No. 3 Andries Gous got going with a punched four through the covers. Taylor slammed Shakib for a six before Gous hit Rishad Hossain for two fours in the seventh over. He repeated the dose on Rishad in the legspinner’s next over, but then top edged a sweep to the deep backward square-leg boundary, where Mustafizur Rahman took a good tumbling catch.

Bangladesh slow down USA surge

Gous’ wicket slowed down the USA batting approach. Aaron Jones couldn’t time the ball which forced Taylor to try to clear mid-off. Mahmudullah ran back and took a good catch, ending Taylor’s stay on 28 off 29 balls. One ball later, Jones departed, skying Mustafizur for four.

Nitish Kumar struck a six off Shakib in the 14th over to break a 5.1 over sequence of no boundaries but he fell trying to clear Shoriful in the 15th over. The left-arm quick had conceded just one run in that over, leaving the US to get 60 off the last five overs.

Harmeet strikes back

The required run-rate was going out of the home team’s control when they needed 50 off the last 20 overs. Harmeet, having scratched around for five balls, pinged Mustafizur for two straight sixes to hand back the pressure to Bangladesh. When he got the strike in the next over, Harmeet slammed Shoriful again straight down the ground. He finished the 18th over with a carved four through point, as the USA collected 31 runs in two overs, leaving them needing 24 off the last 12 balls.

Anderson remembers his past

Anderson was minding his own business even as Harmeet was landing the big sixes. The former New Zealand allrounder finally struck a six off his 22nd ball when he crashed Mustafizur over long-on in the penultimate over. Off the first ball of the last over, he drilled Mahmudullah for another six. It left the USA with just three runs to win off five balls. Harmeet struck the third ball for a four, bringing the home side a historic win.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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