The fans at the Shere Bangla Stadium in Dhaka were smiling from ear to ear, having the time of their lives and getting ready to celebrate their team winning another one-day international match at home. Understandable, considering Bangladesh were in cruise mode at 271/4 in the 42nd over, chasing England's total of 309. But then, debutant Jake Ball took the settled Shakib Al Hasan's wicket and everything went awry for Bangladesh in a hurry.
In the end, the home team lost six wickets for 17 runs, with Ball and Adil Rashid triggering the collapse to give England a scarcely-believable 21-run victory. Bangladesh were bowled out for 288 in 47.5 overs, with Imrul Kayes' century going in vain.
Ball was fantastic, bowling with venom and digging the short balls in to trouble the Bangladesh batsmen. Having taken the opening two wickets of the innings, Ball made sure he would be the one to end the match, as the fast bowler finished with a five-for in a stunning debut performance.
Bangladesh were cruising the chase of 310, with Shakib and Kayes putting on a wonderful 118-run partnership, after they found themselves in a bit of trouble at 153/4. Those runs for the fifth wicket came in just a shade over 15 overs, and it seemed the match was as good as done.
The home side needed just 45 from 54 balls when Ball came in to bowl the 42nd over of the second innings. A two and a four from Shakib (79, 55b, 10x4, 1x6) to start the over only made the equation even more likely, but then a short ball from the fast bowler was pulled to David Willey at midwicket, and from there the Bangladesh chase turned into a nightmare.
Ball dismissed Mosaddek Hossain next ball, before Rashid found the outside edge of captain Mashrafe Mortaza to leave Bangladesh on 274/7.
The onus was on Kayes, already well past his century, to see his team home, but a Rashid wide delivery was missed by the left-hander and captain Jos Buttler made sure the wickets would be smashed in a hurry with the batsman well out of his crease.
Now England were definitely the favourites, and with Rashid inflicting a run out to dismiss Shafiul Islam, Ball (9.5-0-51-5), deservedly, took the final wicket of the match to give England an amazing win.
Earlier, Ben Stokes was the hero with the bat for England, scoring a hundred-ball 101 (8x4, 4x6), while Ben Duckett (60, 78b, 6x4), like Ball also making his debut, and Buttler (63, 38b, 3x4, 4x6) grabbed a half-century each. England would have thought 309 was a defendable total, and while it proved to be so in the end, they would certainly not have imagined defending it in the manner they did.
The second of the three-match series will be played at the Shere Bangla Stadium on Sunday.