Bangladesh qualified for the Super 10 stage of the World Twenty20 on home soil, but they did so in embarrassing circumstances with a defeat to Hong Kong by two wickets in Chittagong on Thursday.
It was a performance that suggested they'll make no impression on the tournament proper when it begins in earnest on Friday night, losing tamely to a side they would have expected to beat. But their net run rate remained superior to Nepal's after two big wins earlier in the tournament.
Sent in to bowl first, hosts Bangladesh batted with reckless abandon and paid the price, skittled for 108 in just 16.3 overs.
Victory for Hong Kong looked a possibility—even a likelihood—at 44-1 in the eighth over, but a collapse followed to set up a nervy, but thrilling, finale.
|World T20: Bangladesh vs. Hong Kong Scorecard|
|Tamim Iqbal||b Tanwir Afzal||0||2||0|
|A Haque||b Nadeem Ahmed||26||28||17||3|
|Rahman||lbw||b Tanwir Afzal||2||2||4||0|
|Shakib||c Nizakat Khan||b Irfan Ahmed||34||43||27||6|
|Mushfiqur Rahim||c Dar||b Nizakat Khan||23||24||18||3|
|Nasir Hossain||not out||14||27||17||0|
|Mahmudullah||b Nadeem Ahmed||2||5||3||0|
|Reza||c Atkinson||b Nizakat Khan||0||4||2||0|
|Razzak||c Atkinson||b Nizakat Khan||0||1||0|
|Rubel Hossain||b Nadeem Ahmed||0||2||3||0|
|Al-Amin||c Babar Hayat||b Nadeem Ahmed||1||6||5||0|
|Extras||0nb 5w 0b 1lb||6||6|
|Total||all out||108||(16.3 ovs)||108|
|Hong Kong Innings|
|Waqas Barkat||st Mushfiqur Rahim||b Shakib||0||4||2||0|
|Irfan Ahmed||lbw||b Shakib||34||33||28||3|
|Babar Hayat||c Mushfiqur Rahim||b Al-Amin||1||4||4||0|
|Nizakat Khan||c Sub||b Mahmudullah||12||34||21||0|
|Tanwir Afzal||b Rahman||0||12||7||0|
|Haseeb Amjad||not out||12||9||6||0|
|Nadeem Ahmed||not out||2||4||2||0|
|Extras||0nb 3w 0b 2lb||5||5|
|Total||for 8||114||(19.4 ovs)||114|
Hong Kong, perhaps the smallest of the minnows at the World T20, had already played twice in the tournament, suffering heavy defeats at the hands of Afghanistan and Nepal.
Against an established Test side on their home conditions, with confidence returning, they shouldn't have stood a chance.
But they made a calamitous start, losing two wickets in the first over as Tanwir Afzal accounted for both Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rehman.
Anamul Haque and Shakib Al Hasan rebuilt quickly, their 48-run stand coming in just five overs, but when Shakib departed just after the halfway point at 85-3, what followed was brainless cricket from the rest of the batting order.
Nadeem Ahmed helped himself to four wickets, Nizakat Khan a further three as the innings imploded. The run rate dropped to a near-standstill, the batsmen departing one after another.
Anamul spoke at the interval on the television coverage of having targeted somewhere between 140-150 as a target—they should have got beyond it from their platform.
Hong Kong started well, brushing off the loss of Waqas Barakat to get going through Irfan Ahmed. He smote three sixes in his 28-ball 34, and precious little to defend, the game looked at their mercy.
Still more, the Bangladeshis looked in serious danger of being eliminated, with their net run rate falling below Nepal's if Hong Kong could knock off the runs in fewer than 14 overs.
But a collapse followed, Shakib's four overs of teasing spin costing just nine runs and prising out three wickets, while Mahmudullah and Al-Amin Hossain also struck to reduce Hong Kong to 51-5.
Munir Khan and Nizakat were left to rebuild the innings and piece by piece they appeared to be doing just that. With so few runs to defend, the momentum shifted quickly, and even at the point Nizakat was dismissed, holing out at square leg, Hong Kong only needed 26 runs from 24 balls to win.
When Munir then took the next over for 15 runs, including launching Farhad Raza down the ground for six, the equation changed to 11 from 18.
He departed for 36 with nine more runs required. Hong Kong limped on, needing six from six in the final over.
They did it with two balls to spare when Haseeb Amjad, calmness personified, hoisted a six over extra cover.