Zimbabwe clinch T20 series against Bangladesh
Zimbabwe came up with a spirited performance and held their nerve at the crucial moment to cruise to a 10-run victory against Bangladesh in the series deciding third T20 International game today at Harare Sports Club.
By virtue of this victory, the hosts eventually took the three-match series 2-1. They won the first game by 17 runs before Bangladesh hit back with a seven-wicket victory in the second game. By doing so, Zimbabwe won their first ever bilateral T20 series (series involving more than one game) against Bangladesh.
Thanks to Ryan Burl’s 28 ball-54, Zimbabwe recovered from 67-6 to put up a fighting 156-8, which later their bowlers defended well, restricting Bangladesh to 146-8.
Burl’s 54-run knock included a 34-run over, bowled by Nasum Ahmed, which eventually made the ultimate difference. But Bangladeshi batters’ mindless batting also dug their own graveyards. Bangladesh’s performance in this series once again proved they are yet to learn the art of T20 cricket.
Nevertheless credit should go for Burl, who didn’t give up hopes despite the side’s top order collapse. He was ably supported by Luke Jongwe who struck 35 off 20 as the duo shared a 79-run partnership off just 31 balls for the seventh wickets to stun Bangladeshi bowlers.
But to Bangladesh’s delight, fast bowler Hasan Mahmud dismissed both of them in the penultimate over to leave Zimbabwe at least 15 runs short from their desired position. But that mattered little at the end.
Hasan Mahmud ended with 2-28. Off spinner Mahedi Hasan also had same figure (2-28) and was key in ripping through Zimbabwe top order.
Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine once again won the toss and as expectedly opted to bat first. Ervine and his opening partner Regis Chakabva also got a dream start, scoring 29 runs in just third over before left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed drew the blood first, removing Chakabva for 17 off 17.
Mahedi then got into act in emphatic style, taking out Wessly Madhevere and Sikandar Raza in consecutive deliveries. Both of the batters were instrumental in Zimbabwe’s 17-run victory in the first match with Madhevere hitting 67 and Raza being not out on 26 ball-65. Raza even scored a fighting 67 in the second game also, which Zimbabwe lost by seven wickets.
Bangladesh spinners then controlled the game, with Mahmudullah Riyad, skipper Mosaddek Hossain Saikat further derailing the hosts.
However Burl went on berserk right from the words go and Nasum felt the heat most. Such was Burl’s aggression on Nasum that at one phase, he raised the prospect of hitting him sixes in six balls in a row.
After hitting four straight sixes, Burl couldn’t hit the fifth ball six but that even went for boundary. However the sixth ball he faced, he struck it six to amass 34 runs from that over. Nasum now became the bowler to bowl most expensive over by a Bangladeshi bowler in this format.
Burl overall struck two fours and six sixes in his knock to help the side propel past 150 runs mark, which looked highly unlikely at the halfway through the game.
Victor Nyauchi gave the Zimbabwe a dream start, striking twice in his first two overs to get the better of Liton Das (13) and debutant Parvez Hossain Emon (2).
The early two wickets caused a mental havoc as the Bangladeshi batters went on to shell, which damaged their run rate. The middle order comprised with Anamul Haque Bijoy, Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mahmudullah Riyad failed to score just quickly, putting the pressure on the next batters.
Bijoy scored just 13 ball-14, Shanto made 16 off 20 while Mahmudullah Riyad contributed run-a-ball-27.
Afif Hossain was the top-scorer for the side with 39 off 27 while Mahedi Hasan hit 22 off 17. The duo are reason that Bangladesh could come close and needed 26 runs in the last two overs. However, they failed to score the required runs.
Victor Nyauchi was the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe with 3-29 while Bard Evans who took the game away from Bangladesh, removing Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain for naught in consecutive deliveries took 2-26.
The two teams now will play a three-match ODI series, with the first match starting on Friday.