A Nathan Ellis hat-trick couldn’t stop Australia from losing yet again to Bangladesh, who are now 3-0 up in the five-game T20I Series.
The history books will tell you this is the first time Bangladesh have ever beaten Australia in a Series across any format.
It’s the latest disappointment in what has been an awful month for the Australians.
Ellis hat-trick not enough
By dismissing Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah, Mahedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman in successive deliveries, Ellis became the first player to ever take a hat-trick on international debut.
Ellis famously worked as a labourer for years as he struggled to make an impact in pro cricket before finally making his breakthrough in 2019, followed by a contract with the Big Bash League side the Hobart Hurricanes.
But it wasn’t enough. 127/9 may not have looked like many runs after Bangladesh won the toss and batted first, but it proved 10 too many on an extremely tricky pitch.
Shakib Al-Hasan hit a priceless 26 off 17 and Mahmudullah played a proper anchor inning of 52 off 53, before becoming the first of Ellis’ victims.
Ironically, Ellis hadn’t bowled at all well up to that point and was by far the most expensive of the Aussie bowlers in going for 34 runs.
Rahman delivers under pressure
In reply, Australia got off to the worst possible start when skipper Matthew Wade went for just 1, to go with scores of 13 and 4 in the first two games.
Mitchell Marsh, the only success story with the bat for Australia over the last month or so, got his side back on track with 51 off 47. But the tourists just couldn’t get the job done.
The all-important 19th over from Mustafizur Rahman went for just one run in a beautiful example of expert death over bowling, meaning Australia needed 22 off the last over.
Alex Carey did manage to hit the first ball for six and Bangladesh were guilty of bowling a no-ball but they hung on in the end.
That sparked huge celebrations in Dhaka as Bangladesh secured their first-ever Series win over Australia, now that they’re 3-0 up, with just one game to go.
Only Marsh deserves credit with the bat
Australia did beat the West Indies 2-1 in an ODI Series last but they were also hammered 4-1 in the T20 Series that followed, also against the West Indies.
That result and being 3-0 down now will be a huge worry ahead of the T20 World Cup, especially given that conditions in the UAE are somewhat similar to what they were in the Caribbean and Bangladesh.
The bowlers were mostly good in both Series but only Mitch Marsh at number three did himself any favours over the last month with the bat.
His last seven T20I knocks included three half-centuries with a top score of 75 and two further scores of 45, proof of his consistency these last few games.
He’ll be desperately unlucky to miss out on a place in their XI at the World Cup after these performances.
All the other batsmen including Wade, Carey and Moses Henriques just never got going this Series after also struggling in the Caribbean.
Australia drift in World Cup betting market
It’s all a huge worry for Australia who will be low on confidence as a result of both the results and the performances.
They’ve drifted in the real money betting odds to 6.2 with 10CRIC to win the T20 World Cup on the back of these performances, having been considerably shorter before the two Series defeats.
The good news for Australia is they can bring back a number of senior players who were absent from both tours including Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Pat Cummins and skipper Aaron Finch, who got injured during the tour of the Caribbean.
The way things are going for them lately, they’ll need all the help they can get.