18 March 2008
Bangladesh finally come out of the losing streak in One Day Internationals with a gutsy 8 wicket win over Ireland in the first match of the three-match Ispahani Tea ODI series at Mirpur Sher E Bangla Stadium on Tuesday
After restricting Ireland to 185 for 7 in 50 overs, Bangladesh stormed to victory with 61 balls to spare. Left handed opener Shariar Nafees and skipper Mohammad Ashraful shared an unbroken 130 run partnership to steer Bangladesh to their first ODI victory since losing to the same opponent in World Cup 2007.
Winning the toss Ireland captain Trent Johnston opted to bat first, but his decision received a severe blow when Mashrafe Mortaza removed both openers with 20 runs on the board. Eoin Morgan and Nial O'Brien played cautiously to resurrect the Ireland innings and Ireland reached 81-3 at the halfway mark.
Bangladesh spinners kept things tight and Ireland failed to force the tempo and in the process lost three quick wickets to find themselves in rather embarrassing 115 for 6 after 35 overs. Skipper Johnston formed a handy 7th wicket 65 run partnership with young Alex Cusack and provided Irish bowlers something to bowl at.
Mashrafe Mortaza returned in the final over of Ireland innings and picked Cusack, who made a patient 38 off 61 ball, to raise his match tally to 3 wickets for 22 runs for which he received the man-of-the match award. Ireland finally managed 185 runs for 7 wickets in the stipulated 50 overs.
In reply, Bangladesh made flying start as Tamim struck successive boundaries in the first over of the Bangladesh innings. Ireland regrouped and picked Tamim Iqbald and Aftab Ahmed cheaply at which point the match looked delicately poised.
However, Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful brought assurance in the Bangladesh innings and shared a match winnings 130 run partnership with opener Shahriar Nafees in just 30.3 overs. The pair made the Irish bowlers to toil with a perfect balance of aggression and calm and the tourists had no answers to the decisive stroke plays. Nafees hammered 11 boundaries in his 121 ball 90 while Mohammad Ashraful's 90 ball 64 included 8 boundaries.
The two sides will meet again for the second ODI of the series at the same venue on Thursday.