BANGLADESH made a trifecta of winning their 100th matches in all three formats after beating Zimbabwe by eight wickets in the first T20I yesterday at Harare Sports Club.
Their pace bowlers took eight wickets to engineer a batting collapse, before Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar put together the team’s first-ever century opening stand in the format.
Zimbabwe paid the price once again for fielding errors and conceding too many extras, but mainly lost out due to a batting collapse. They slipped from 91 for 2 to be bowled out for 152, at least 40 short of what they looked set to get.
Naim’s 66 not out – his second T20I fifty – was a matured effort, in which he not only played the role of the aggressor upfront but also finished the game off. The match was sealed when he slapped a boundary over mid-off in the penultimate over. He had Nurul Hasan at the other end when victory was achieved.
Naim’s three fours off Richard Ngarava in the fourth over fuelled Bangladesh’s innings. Sarkar joined in the fun by then whacking two big sixes, eventually getting to a half-century off 45 balls. He would fall soon after as Regis Chakabva’s back flick after collecting a throw from the deep caught Sarkar short of the crease as he tried to complete a second run.
Zimbabwe could have had Naim on 49, but for Sikandar Raza’s misjudgment when he stopped a throw from the deep with Naim well short of the crease behind him.Zimbabwe eventually effected a run out when Blessing Muzarabani scored a direct hit from short third man to dismiss Mahmudullah, but it was all too late.
Earlier, Nurul Hasan played a critical role in bringing Bangladesh back into the game after Regis Chakabva took off like a bullet train, hitting a 22-ball 43. He drove, pulled, scooped and nurdled runs during the course of a second-wicket stand worth 64 with Wessley Madhevere. Just when Zimbabwe looked set, Madhevere lobbed a simple return catch to Shakib in the ninth over.
But Zimbabwe started to decelerate when Hasan’s throw towards the non-striker’s end ran out the rampant Chakabva in the eleventh over. Raza fell later in the same over, caught behind off Shoriful Islam to turn a wobble into a full-blown collapse.
After a little recovery, Zimbabwe lost their last four wickets in 11 balls. After Mohammad Saifuddin bowled Luke Jongwe, substitute Shamim Hossain ran hard to his left at long-on to take a brilliant catch to leave batter Ryan Burl stunned.
Apart from Islam, Rahman struck some late blows to ensure Bangladesh finished well short of what they would’ve aimed for. They also didn’t utilise one full over of their innings. Eventually their collapse – 8 for 91 in 13 overs – cost them an opportunity to take a lead in the series.