USA stun Bangladesh with a five-wicket win in series opener ahead of 2024 T20 World Cup 

USA vs Bangladesh
USA pulled off a major upset ahead of the 2024 T20 World Cup

Bangladesh's preparation for the 2024 T20 World Cup has taken a discouraging start following a five-wicket defeat to the United States of America (USA) in the first T20I. The Najmul Hossain Shanto-led side failed to defend a 154-run target at the Prairie View Cricket Complex in Houston on Tuesday, May 21.

After their 4-1 triumph over Zimbabwe at home, Bangladesh made their way to the USA for a three-match T20I series. Fielding a full-strength side, they were put into bat first by USA skipper Monank Patel. Bangladesh did not have the best of powerplays, scoring only 37 runs while also losing the out-of-form Liton Das in the process.

The USA strengthened their grip on the tie in the middle overs, reducing the visitors to 68/4 in the 12th over. Spinner Steven Taylor bowled a brilliant spell, claiming two wickets for just nine runs. Bangladesh clawed their way back into the contest following a partnership between Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah.

Former Mumbai cricketer Saurabh Netravalkar, who was part of the Washington Freedom side in the inaugural Major League Cricket (MLC) season in 2023, broke the 67-run stand for the fifth wicket. Bangladesh managed to squeeze through 17 runs off the last over bowled by Ali Khan to cross the 150-run mark.

USA clinched victory from the jaws of defeat in the run chase

The hosts made a brisk start to the run chase despite skipper Monank Patel departing in the fourth over. USA were steadily progressing at 65-1 in the ninth over, but a collapse left them 78/4 in no time.

With the required rate climbing steadily, the duo of Harmeet Singh and former New Zealand international all-rounder Corey Anderson joined forces. USA were still 60 runs away after the 15-over mark in the run chase. The equation was complicated to 55 runs off the last four overs as Mahmudullah bowled a tight over.

The momentum shift began in the 17th over, when Harmeet Singh hit consecutive sixes off Mustafizur Rahman. The left-arm duo of Rahman and Shoriful Islam were punished in the death overs as runs continued to flow. With 14 and 15 runs coming off the 18th and the 19th over respectively, USA were only left to score nine runs in the final over, which they did with three balls to spare.

Harmeet Singh and Corey Anderson remained unbeaten on 33 runs and 34 runs respectively to seal the historic win.

"Credit goes to our spinners for bowling in the right areas and giving us a target we could chase down. They gave us crucial wickets and the left-right combination worked well. I think we started well but there were too many dot balls in the middle overs, that's something we need to work on. But credit to Harmeet and Corey for the way they finished things. I think we are building some good momentum, need to continue the same way," USA skipper Monank Patel said after the win.

The second T20I of the series is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 23, at the same venue. The USA are drawn alongside India, Pakistan, Canada, and Ireland in Group A of the 2024 T20 World Cup.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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