Miraz turns up and turns it on

The Daily Star  January 23, 2021

Sports Reporter

Mehedi Hasan Miraz had to wait two years to register his second man-of-the-match performance and his career-best bowling figures of four for 25 from 9.4 overs helped Bangladesh seal the three-match ODI series against the West Indies with a game in hand yesterday.

Mehedi’s first man-of-the-match award came against the same opposition in 2018, when he picked up four wickets for 29 runs. However, the two years since have not gone well for Miraz, especially in limited-overs cricket.

After initially bursting onto the international arena against England in a Test series in 2016, when he announced himself as the next big thing in the Tigers’ spin department, there have been talks in the recent past about dropping him from the limited-overs formats due to a lack of impact and variation.

The youngster has been under tremendous pressure and, after picking up one wicket in the first game, Miraz came out strong in the second ODI yesterday, consistently bowling in the right areas and often asking questions of the batsmen.

Despite there not being much turn in the surface, Miraz varied his line and length to good effect after being introduced into the attack in the 10th over, keeping things tight tight in his first two overs and targeting the footmarks.

He hit the visitors with a double-blow, first removing debutant Kjorn Ottley with a rather straight delivery that the left-hander played straight to cover while trying to go over.

Two balls later Miraz undid Joshua Da Silva with another flighted delivery that held its line. The batsman waited for the turn, but the ball went on to hit the timber. He immediately picked up a wicket when he came on for his second spell, dismissing Windies skipper Jason Mohammed as the ball skid through and trapped him leg before.

He then got the final wicket of Rovman Powell to wrap things up for Bangladesh and register his best ODI bowling figures.

The 23 year looked relieved after the game and credited seniors like Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad for helping him by providing valuable input.

“I was unable to bowl well in the first ODI against the left-handed batters then Shakib bhai advised me to bowl around the leg-middle area. All of a sudden I gained the confidence and even bowled a maiden over.

“It was same today (yesterday) when I did not get a wicket in my first three overs. Riyad bhai suggested that I change the fielding set-up and I got a wicket off the very next ball. It was really special for me because I might not have picked that wicket if Riyad bhai didn’t advise me,” he said.


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