Bangladesh lost their first ever T20I against Ireland in a thrilling encounter

Paul Stirling led Ireland's chase with the same elegance as always

Ireland won the last Twenty20 International at Chattogram on Friday, giving them their first victory of their Bangladeshi tour by a margin of seven wickets. 

As Bangladesh was bowled out for 124, Mark Adair led the bowling attack with three wickets, while Paul Stirling, who was later awarded Player of the Match, was at the top of his creative game as he hit a 41-ball 77 to lead the chase. It was Ireland’s first victory over Bangladesh in any format and their first T20I victory since 2009.

Bangladesh made two changes, probably to try out different approaches, after taking the series after winning the first two games earlier in the week. 

Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mustafizur Rahman were replaced, while Shoriful Islam made a comeback and Rishad Hossain made his debut. But what lost its grip was the batting.

Bangladesh made 61 for 7 in nine and a half overs after deciding to bat. However, Shamim Hossain hit his first half-century in an international game, scoring 51 off 42 balls with five fours and two sixes to give them a respectable 124. One of those sixes, when Curtis Campher was reverse-whipped and hit over backward point for a six, was especially impressive.

But, Paul Stirling was in such excellent form and came up with a few creative shots of his own that the chase was finished in just 14 overs.

The second over was the beginning of Bangladesh’s downfall. In response to a wide Adair delivery, Litton Das slashed towards deep point, landing in George Dockrell’s hands. After three games, it was the first time Bangladesh had lost a wicket in the powerplay.

The next victim was Najmul Hossain Shanto, who smacked a slog-sweep from Harry Tector straight to deep midwicket. Campher threw the catch around but held on. Rony Talukdar holed out at deep midwicket in the next over, giving Campher himself a wicket.

But, Towhid Hridoy and Shakib Al Hasan went for their shots in line with Bangladesh’s new strategy, hit a few huge ones, and both were gone in the span of three balls. Shakib was caught at short midwicket after missing the ball from Adair, and in the eighth over, Hridoy made a hole-in-one from Ben White.

At Sylhet, Matthew Humphreys played two ODIs without recording a wicket, but his T20I career got off to a better start. When he yorked Rishad for 8, he took a wicket with his first pitch.

He became the first Irish bowler in T20Is to capture a wicket with his first ball as a result. Yet this wasn’t the first time a newcomer had done something similar to Bangladesh. Earlier, the feat has been achieved by Rory Kleinveldt, Pragyan Ojha, Lockie Ferguson, and Cole McConchie.

Taskin Ahmed was caught at deep midwicket for a duck on Taskin Humphreys’ third ball, which led to Humphreys’ second addition.

Before Nasum Ahmed was caught in the covers by Gareth Delany’s legspin, Shamim and Nasum Ahmed had scored 33 runs for the eighth wicket. Before Fionn Hand removed Shamim in the last over, Adair claimed his third wicket by eliminating Shoriful.

Ross Adair and Lorcan Tucker lost early wickets, preventing Stirling from getting going at first, but once he got rolling, there was no stopping him. 

He started the chase by cutting and sweeping Shakib for fours, and the subsequent over, he placed Hasan Mahmud’s half-tracker for his first six. In his 41-ball innings, he smashed ten fours and four sixes, leaving no bowler safe from his wrath or his ingenuity.

The majority of those came in the 11th inning’s Shoriful over, when he pulled a six and hit three fours to score 20 runs. While Campher ended the chase with a four and a six off Taskin, Rishad put a stop to the chaos by having Stirling caught at long-on in the 13th over. It was Stirling’s 22nd half-century in T20Is and Rishad’s first international wicket.