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Mahmudullah leads by example to fill Shakib-sized hole

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BSS, New Delhi :
It was not easy to fill the place of someone like Shakib Al Hasan but Mahmudullah led by example as far as the captaincy is concerned in the first T20 match against India at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.
He struck the winning six and scored an unbeaten 15 off seven balls, which wasn't significant. What was significant was his shrewdness to rotate the bowlers, who made the task easier for the batsmen to win the game by seven wickets.
India was without their regular captain Virat Kohli as he was rested but still the batting line up formidable one. To restrict this line up to just 148-6 was credible effort from the bowlers and here Mahmudullah ticked all boxes correctly.
The way he rotated his bowlers and brought out the best of them paved the platform of Bangladesh's first T20 victory against India in ninth attempt. And it was also their first victory in any format of cricket against the might neighbours at their home soil also. What made the victory more pleasing was that it was the 1000th T20 Intentional matches in the history.
Mahmudullah used as many as eight bowlers and it was the only second time in Bangladesh's T20 history that they used such number of bowlers. But it was planned strategy as Mahmudullah didn't want the Indian batsmen to settle nicely in the crease.
To bowlers' credit, they bowled according to the plan to make the life easier for captain. Bangladesh formed the XI, leaving out any left arm spinners, which was quite unusual since the left arm spinners were considered Bangladesh's main strength.
But Mahmudullah dared to take this gamble as he knew that Indian batsmen were quite comfortable to deal with the left-arm spinners. Moreover there was no Shakib who was banned by ICC just ahead of the series due to breach the code of conduct as he failed to report corrupt approached to him by the bookies.
Shakib's ban that was preceded by players' strike against BCB left the cricket in tumultuous situation just ahead of the tour. Mahmudullah was given the captaincy of T20 format in such moment when country's cricket was going through a worst phase. So it was a challenging task for the captain to regroup the team and made them focused onto cricket only, shrugging off-the- field scuffle. Mahmudullah did this in quite astute fashion.
"His captaincy was excellent today," said Bangladesh's match-winner Mushfiqur Rahim, who is also the brother-in-law of Mahmudullah.
"He shrewdly used the bowlers. And his change of bowling was tremendous. He knows well when he should the chance the bowlers and when a spinner will be effective."
But Mahmudullah himself gave all the credit to his colleagues for this memorable victory.
"I think it was all based on how we start but the bowlers did a great job, everyone chipped one," he said after the match.

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