Zimbabwe 152 all out in 19 overs (Regis Chakabva 43, Dion Myers 35; Mustafizur Rahmann 3-31, Shoiful Islam 2-17) lost to Bangladesh 153/2 in 18.5 overs (Mohammad Naim 63*, Soumya Sarkar 50) by 8 wickets
Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar’s fifties set up a comfortable eight-wicket victory for Bangladesh in the T20I series opener after a clinical bowling performance restricted the hosts Zimbabwe to 152 despite Regis Chakabva’s blitz.
Zimbabwe’s innings was a tale of two halves – Chakabva leading the charge in first 10 overs and Bangladesh making a spectacular comeback in the second to restrict them to a sub-par for a good batting track on offer. Shoriful Islam was the star with the ball, picking up two vital wickets to trigger the Zimbabwean collapse. Naim and Sarkar then combined for a century partnership to ensure smooth sailing for the visitors in the chase.
Chakabva gives Zimbabwe a flying start
The first half of Zimbabwe’s innings had Chakabva launching an assault on the Bangladesh bowlers. The wicketkeeper, who walked in with Zimbabwe 10/1 after Mustafizur Rahman struck removed Tadiwanashe Marumani cheaply, hit a 22-ball 43 that offset the early setback. He got off the mark with two boundaries off Shakib ah Hasan’s first over, before going on the offensive against Mehidy Hasan, hammering the offspinner for two sixes down the ground on either side of the pitch, and another four straight down that almost went the distance.
Bangladesh keeper Nurul Hasan did not just nail a direct hit at the non-striker’s end to deny Chakabva a half-century, he also sucked the momentum out of the home side’s batting innings with that spectacular piece of fielding. Zimbabwe were 91/2 at the halfway stage, eyeing perhaps a target of 200 if not more. But the run out triggered a collapse that saw the remaining eight wickets falling for the addition of only 61 runs in the final nine overs. It was Dion Myers’ 22-ball 35 that kept runs coming from at least one end. The scoreboard would have in fact looked more embarrassing for the hosts, especially after the kind of start Chakabva provided, if not for Luke Jongwe’s 18-run cameo towards the end to push them across the 150-run mark. Shoriful broke the back of their middle order with wickets of Sikandar Raza and Myers in quick succession while later Mustafizur returned to add two more to his tally to finish with figures of 3-31, while Saifuddin also claimed two for 23 in his four overs.
Naim, Sarkar set the base
After a watchful start and about three and a half overs of looking for singles, Naim upped the ante with a hattrick of boundaries to close the fourth over from Richard Ngarava. Sarkar tuned in right after, welcoming Jongwe into the attack with a six over deep midwicket and Bangladesh’s chase was well and truly underway. Zimbabwe’s bowling lacked the bite, nor were they able to breakthrough as the Bangladesh openers settled in comfortably by finding an odd boundary every over to go past the 100-run milestone in the 13th over.
Minor hiccups, but Bangladesh take series lead
Sarkar fell on the same ball he completed his fourth T20I half-century, trying to make it back for a second, but Naim carried his bat through and even hit the wining runs in his unbeaten knock of 63. Zimbabwe did manage a second breakthrough with the wicket of Mahmadullah, in the form of another run out, but overall their bowling lacked precision and penetration to pose any kind of threat to Bangladesh, who polished off the chase with seven balls and eight wickets to spare. – Cricbuzz