Tigers sneak past Ireland
Co-hosts Bangladesh enjoyed their first win of the World Cup at the second attempt, seeing off Ireland by 27 runs in front of a delirious home crowd at Mirpur.
Having lost their opening game to India, the pressure was on the Tigers to break their duck and they did so in a compelling day-night contest against a side that pushed them all the way.
Ireland were in a position to repeat their 2007 World Cup victory over Bangladesh when they limited the hosts to 205 all out.
Having chosen to bat on a flat pitch, the Tigers impressed with a flurry of boundaries in the early overs, but fine bowling by Andre Botha and 18-year-old spinner George Dockrell - who took 3-32 and 2-23 respectively - prevented them from posting a big total.
Tamim Iqbal led the initial surge with 44 from 43 balls before a spate of wickets left Raqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim to forge a fifty partnership with 38 and 36 respectively.
That carried Bangladesh through the middle overs and helped stretch the innings, but Ireland continued to offer few easy runs and eventually closed the innings with four balls unused.
The visitors were hampered by regular wickets during a chase in which the O’Brien brothers top-scored with 38 for Niall and 37 from Kevin.
The Tigers’ spinners initially did the damage before seamer Shafiul Islam returned to claim four wickets in a devastating spell that decided the game.
Tamim and Imrul Kayes gave the crowd plenty to cheer about in the first powerplay, as 50 came in just 5.4 overs, but Ireland soon hit back with three quick wickets.
Kayes was stumped smartly by Niall O’Brien off John Mooney before Junaid Siddique was run out attempting a quick single, Ed Joyce with the throw. Tamim then slashed Botha to point.
Shakib Al Hasan struck three boundaries for his 16, but Botha nipped the skipper's knock in the bud with a return catch.
Raqibul and Mushfiqur lent stability to the innings with their patient approach, taking 109 deliveries to put on 61 for the fifth wicket.
However, Ireland once again seized the initiative as Dockrell - who bowled one of the tightest spells of the tournament to date - removed Mushfiqur and Mohammad Ashraful via top-edged sweeps to short fine-leg in successive overs, while Andrew White's quick fielding saw Raqibul run out.
The last three batsmen added a crucial 49 runs. Botha trapped Shafiul in front and Abdur Razzak played on to Johnston, who claimed the final wicket when Naeem Islam scooped to short fine-leg on 29.
Ireland could not match Bangladesh’s start with the bat, Paul Stirling overbalancing to be stumped off Mushfiqur and fellow opener Will Porterfield flicking Raqibul to midwicket on 20 in the opening powerplay.
Joyce, making his Ireland one-day international debut, and Niall O’Brien steadied the ship until the former England man was caught and bowled by Ashraful for 16 via a leading edge.
The spinner struck again when White played on off his inside edge and Ireland were 110 for five when Tamim held a superb catch, coming in from the leg-side boundary, off Shakib to remove Niall O’Brien for 38.
The tourists mounted something of a recovery through Kevin O’Brien and Botha until the former holed out off Shafiul in the deep.
Bangladesh regained the upper hand with three wickets in four overs: Mooney bottom-edged a sweep off Naeem onto his stumps for a nine-ball duck, Shafiul bowled Botha for 22 and the seamer trapped Johnston in front.
Victory soon arrived for the hosts when Rankin chipped Shafiul, who finished with 4-21, to midwicket with five overs to go.
Ireland captain Porterfield was left to rue a series of soft dismissals in his side’s innings.
“It’s not hard to work out where we lost this game. We let ourselves down with the bat,” he said. “But we have to bounce back from this, we can’t let it bother us.”
Tigers skipper Shakib took heart from his the way his side performed under pressure.
“Although we didn’t bat well, our bowlers and fielders showed great character and support for us," he said. "It’s good to have support like this and hopefully we can improve ourselves from here.”