Bangladesh 158 for 2 (Litton 73, Shanto 47*, Jordan 1-21) beat England 142 for 6 (Malan 53, Buttler 40, Taskin 2-26) by 16 runs
Mirpur March 15, 2023: Bangladesh handed England only their second 3-0 loss in a T20I bilateral series with the 16-run win in the third game in Dhaka. The hosts, despite it being a dead rubber, fought back superbly by engineering a batting collapse after the visitors were 100 for 1 after 13 overs, chasing 159 to win.
The crux of England's batting collapse saw them lose five wickets for 28 runs in five overs, which pushed their required run rate from eight to 12 per over. Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler had put them in the driver's seat with their rapid second wicket partnership, but once Mustafizur Rahman broke their stand, England slid quickly.
Earlier, Litton Das struck his ninth T20I fifty to help Bangladesh to a middling 158 for 2 total in 20 overs. Litton and Najmul Hossain Shanto added 84 runs for the second wicket, but they couldn't quite press on in the last five overs, scoring only 27 runs for the loss of Litton. England's bowlers fought back well, which was nicely helped when their batters gave them a strong start to the chase.
Malan bookends tour with runs
England lost Phil Salt in the first over when Tanvir Islam, who became the fourth Bangladesh spinner to open the bowling in T20Is on debut. Salt's struggle against left-arm spin continued on this tour, having got out to the type of bowling five times across six innings in two formats.
Malan however bookended the tour with important knocks. He made the unbeaten 114 in the first ODI on March 1, the innings that took England to a hard-fought victory. Malan made 53 in this game, hitting six fours and two sixes in his 47-ball stay. He struck his sixes hoicking over long-on and sweeping over fine leg, adding fours from a few sweetly-timed flicks and cuts, as well as the cover drive.
Buttler aided him with faster scoring. He struck balls straight, hitting a six and two fours down the ground, apart from two fours through midwicket. England were cruising till the 13th over with the second-wicket pair together, and an easy chase looked in the offing.
Wickets bring back the hosts
But it all changed when Mustafizur had Malan caught behind, to pick up his 100th wicket in T20Is. He is the second Bangladesh to reach this landmark, after Shakib Al Hasan. When Buttler was run out next ball, the home side sensed a comeback. Mehidy Hasan Miraz struck the stumps from point, and then ran off towards long-off to celebrate.
Taskin Ahmed then struck twice in his last over, the 17th of the innings, when he removed both Moeen Ali and Ben Duckett, England's last recognised batting pair. Moeen holed out to the deep midwicket boundary where Mehidy took a simple catch. Taskin then sent Duckett's off-stump for a ride, as England lost 5 for 28 runs in 31 balls.
Litton raises the tempo
Finally Litton got his much-awaited big score in white-ball cricket. His last significant knock in T20Is was the sparkling 60 against India in the T20 World Cup. He didn't do much in the ODIs against India and England, particularly disappointing after his stellar 2022. But over the last five years, a big score from Litton has always looked around the corner. And so it happened in Dhaka in the last game.
Litton stamped his authority in the 55-run opening stand with Rony Talukdar. His older partner, Rony, flashed away to get 24 off 22 balls, including a shocking dropped catch by Rehan Ahmed at short third man. Litton got into the flow after the halfway stage, first hitting Chris Jordan for two fours, pulled and lofted over mid-off.
Ben Duckett dropped him on 51 at deep midwicket, after which he got two boundaries off Jofra Archer, one a top edge and another a pulled six. The crème de la crème was his inside-out loft against Adil Rashid in the 15th over. Bangladesh were motoring along at this stage, and looked like getting a 175-plus total at this stage.
England rein back the scoring
Litton and Shanto added 84 runs for the second wicket, but around the time of Litton's dismissal, England had brought back the scoring rate for about two-and-a-half overs. Shakib was struggling to time the ball, and suddenly along with Shanto, the pair started to look for more percentage shots rather than using the full face of the bat.
Credit to the England fast bowlers who scrambled through their variations very well. Jordan, Archer and Sam Curran brought back the visitors by conceding just 27 runs in the last five overs.
Shanto, who looked in ominous form before Litton's dismissal with a couple of sixes, struck the only boundary during this phase, but couldn't find further boundaries in the remaining overs. Shakib too couldn't press on despite the great base. Perhaps the pitch slowed up but the England fast bowlers really brought their A-game in the death overs. But their batters couldn't get the job done.