The 31-year-old batsman had been called up as a late emergency cover by Bangladesh ahead of Sunday’s clash and was immediately drafted into the playing XI. The left-hander’s return to the side for his first ODI since October 2017 has raised plenty of eyebrows, including skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s, who questioned the rationale behind giving the batsman a recall.
With all the controversy surrounding Kayes’ return to the Tigers squad, we take a closer look at his individual performance in Bangladesh’s total of 249-7.
BALLS FACES: 89
Made to bat in the middle-order on his return, Kayes arrived to the crease after Afghanistan had struck twice in a single Rashid Khan over. He found himself in the heat of things straight away with the well-set Mushfiqur Rahim being run-out after a mix-up with the pair. However, he steadied himself and Bangladesh down with a momentum-changing 128-run stand for the sixth wicket with Mahmudullah. Watchful at the start, Kayes changed gears in the death overs and remained unbeaten to help the Tigers post a challenging 249-7 in their 50 overs. On the way, he registered his 15th ODI half-century.
2000 ODI runs for Imrul Kayes. he becomes overall 8th Bangladesh batsman to do so.— Imran Hasan (@Imranhasan02) September 23, 2018
Fastest 2000 ODI runs for Bangladesh in terms of innings-
65- Shariar Nafees
69- Shakib Al Hasan
70- Tamim Iqbal
71- Imrul Kayes*#BANvAFG #AsiaCup2018
When Kayes’ mix up with Mushfiqur resulted in the wicketkeeper batsman’s run-out, Bangladesh were in danger of completely collapsing after sliding to 87-5 from 81-2. However, the returning batsman ensured that he did not lose his head and made full use of all his experience to steady a sinking ship. Despite not scoring too many boundaries in the first-half of the innings, Kayes held one end down for the Tigers and was content to play second fiddle to Mahmudullah, who looked in excellent touch. Choosing to cut out any risky shots, Kayes batted sensibly in the context of the situation with the 128-run sixth-wicket partnership averting a Tigers’ collapse.
There were not many aspects of his game that Kayes got wrong despite being drafted into the side in a rushed manner. If there is one criticism of his display on Sunday, it was the amount of dot balls he played at the start of the innings. The left-hander was batting at a strike-rate of near 60 for the most part of his innings before accelerating in the death. Given where Bangladesh were when he came into bat, his blocking can hardly be faulted though.
VERDICT – 8/10
All the pressure was on Kayes’ shoulders before he had even set foot at Sheikh Zayed Stadium given the comments made by his skipper. That pressure was compounded when his non-striking partner Mushfiqur was run-out. A poor outing with the bat could very well have meant curtains to Kayes’ international career for some time at least, but he dug in to put together an unbeaten innings filled with determination and fortitude. There was a fear that he could be under-cooked for the match, but he showed no signs of that at all and was completely in control throughout his 89-ball stay. Kayes’ innings on Sunday did not just revive Bangladesh, but they might have also resurrected his own ODI career.
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