Dan Christian smashed 39 and spinner Mitchell Swepson returned figures of 3-12 as Australia edged out Bangladesh by three wickets for a consolation victory on Saturday (August 7).
However, they made a meal of the run chase, especially after Daniel Christian's cameo of 39 from 15 balls. From his dismissal to Mitchell Marsh's, Australia lost four wickets for 16 runs in five overs. When Ashton Agar walked in to bat, there were glum faces in the Australian dressing room. But Agar, teaming up with Ashton Turner, forged a judicious stand of 34 runs from 43 balls for the seventh wicket which eased the nerves.
Turner (9 not out from 20 balls) focused on staying in the middle while Agar found crucial occasional boundaries. He scored 27 off 27 balls, putting Australia within 6 runs off the target, at his dismissal. Turner saw Australia through alongside AJ Tye with an over to spare.
Bangladesh can ponder if they delayed Mustafizur Rahman's last spell an over too late. He was almost impossible to score off and replicated his economy rate from the previous game. Only this time, he had two wickets as well to finish with 4-1-9-2.
Christian came in at number three ahead of the in-form Mitchell Marsh and laid his impact straightaway. He started with a second-ball four. He tore into Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over, depositing him for five sixes in the arc between mid-wicket and long-on. That was more runs in one over than what Australia scored in the last five overs of the third T20I.
"The way Dan played, it can be the difference between winning and losing games," said skipper Matthew Wade.
"We knew he is a terrific hitter from ball one. It would have been nice to get some runs from a few players including me."
Bangladesh hit back after Mustafizur Rahman took two wickets including Christian's key scalp and Mahedi Hasan bowled Marsh for 11.
Australia's decision to include leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and Tye in the team reaped results with the bowlers sharing six wickets between them.
Pace bowler Josh Hazlewood did the early damage after sending back Soumya Sarkar for eight and star batsman Shakib caught behind for 15.
But it was the Player of the Match Swepson's successive strikes to dismiss skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan, both on naught, in the 11th over that rattled Bangladesh.
Afif Hossain (20) and Mahedi (23) helped take the total past 100 but Tye struck thrice with his medium-pace bowling to keep Bangladesh in check.
Shoriful Islam, who has been reprimanded by the International Cricket Committee for his aggressive celebration after dismissing Mitchell Marsh in his team's previous match, was out on the final ball of the Bangladesh innings.
Difference for Bangladesh from the third T20I was the fact that they did not have a batsmen batting through, a role that Mahmudullah embraced in the previous game.
"It was a 120 wicket. We were 10-15 short," Mahmudullah. "The bowlers did a very good job. As a batting unit, we needed to be cautious and sensible."
(with inputs from AFP)