By SABC Sport
9th March 2023
England stumbled to a six-wicket defeat in their first T20 international since winning last year's World Cup as Bangladesh drew first blood in this three-match series at Chattogram.
The tourists included seven members of the side who took to the field in the final against Pakistan at the MCG last November but a disjointed display from a shallow batting unit set Bangladesh 157 to win.
Najmul Hossain Shanto ignited Bangladesh's charge with 51 off 30 deliveries, including four fours in a row off Mark Wood, and Shakib Al Hasan’s 34 not out off 24 balls saw them home with two overs to spare.
While England were not at their best with the ball, they were undermined by the batters as only Jos Buttler, with 67 off 42 balls, got to grips with a tricky surface after they were asked to bat first.
Buttler put on 47 with Ben Duckett, called up especially for this series after missing the 2-1 ODI win due to his Test commitments, but the pair's dismissals in successive deliveries was part of a sequence that saw England lose four wickets in the last five overs, adding just 30 runs in the process to finish on 156 for six.
Before then, Buttler had an 80-run opening stand with Phil Salt, who made a stodgy 38 off 35 balls, perhaps mindful that the England XI was low on out-and-out batters but with seven bowling options.
Both of England's openers showed nice timing and started decently without going full throttle, although Buttler dispatched the first of his four sixes over long-on after Mustafizur Rahman went too full.
In a chaotic final over of the powerplay both Salt and then Buttler were reprieved on 20 and 19 respectively, with Bangladesh captain Shakib's drop of his opposite number particularly galling after shelling a steepler running in from mid-on.
Salt struggled to make use of his let-off, becoming bogged down by Bangladesh's spinners. While he hit Nasum Ahmed for six, the slow left-armer had his revenge when Salt nicked off and took a review with him.
Dawid Malan came and went but Duckett used his wristy sweeps against the spinners and ramps to the quicks to be a capable foil for Buttler, who brought up a 32-ball fifty and England's 100 with a flat-batted six off Hasan Mahmud before shovelling the paceman over deep midwicket for another maximum.
However, the tide turned when Duckett cruelly lost his off-stump to Mustafizur’s grubber to depart for 20 off 13 deliveries and from the next ball, which also kept low, Hasan snatched the key wicket when Buttler toe-ended to wide long-on.
Mustafizur and Hasan expertly took pace off the ball to frustrate Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, who was caught in the deep.
Chris Jordan squirted a four off Taskin Ahmed to get England past 150 in the last over while Moeen was denied a six by some fine relay fielding – although T20 debutant Rony Talukdar dropped the catch.
Rony made amends by helping Bangladesh fly out of the traps but was stopped in his tracks when Buttler threw the ball to Adil Rashid, whose flighted googly fizzed through the opener’s gate.
Najmul overturned an lbw verdict against him two balls later as the technology indicated he had gloved an attempted reverse sweep at Rashid, who was pulled to the midwicket fence off the next delivery.
Najmul carted Wood for four fours in a row, using the quick bowler's pace against him, making it six successive fours after Chris Woakes had leaked a couple of boundaries to Towhid Hridoy in his preceding over.
Towhid slammed Rashid for six but miscued Moeen into the deep while Wood ended Najmul’s fine innings with a skiddier effort that kept low, clattering into the middle stump.
Shakib was undone by Moeen's turn but a leading edge flew to the boundary while the England off-spinner saw Afif Hossain (15no) put down by a juggling Dawid Malan at point.
Jordan was held back until the 15th over but was unable to stem the flow of runs, and Shakib sealed victory in the fast bowler’s next over with a carve through backward point for his sixth four.