Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-Finally a contest, eleven days and four matches into Zimbabwe’s tour of Bangladesh.
The first T20 went down to the wire but it was still Bangladesh who prevailed, winning by four wickets in Mirpur, reports ESPNcricinfo.
Malcolm Waller and Graeme Cremer offered a fight on behalf of Zimbabwe, but ultimately 131 wasn’t a big enough score for the bowlers to work with.
Waller got into a six-hitting mode that dug the visitors out from a hole, and later it was Cremer whose double-wicket over gave Bangladesh something to think about at 80 for 5.
Liton Das and Mahmudullah and later Mashrafe Mortaza, though, ensured the win with two short but vital partnerships for the sixth and seventh wickets.
Mashrafe finished off the contest with a straight smack over the bowler’s head in the 18th over.
Zimbabwe were inserted and by the ninth over, they were four down.
The openers Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva fell within the first nine balls of the innings before their best hitter Elton Chigumbura, and their best batsman of the year, Sean Williams, got out with the score reading only 38.
Raza was dismissed in the first over, giving Liton Das an easy catch at mid-off. Chakabva premeditated a scoop but Al-Amin Hossain changed his length at the last moment to have him flap at a short ball, looping it to Mushfiqur Rahim.
In the next over, Mashrafe got his opposite number by getting one to rush past his defenses.
Williams was then bowled by Nasir Hossain, who celebrated by blowing a kiss to the heavens.
He had managed only one boundary in his 21-ball 15.
What happened next was hardly predictable, given how the Zimbabwe batsmen have fared on this tour.
Waller suddenly exploded in the most spectacular way.
The straight boundaries on both sides had been pulled in by a few metres but most of Waller’s blows cleared the ropes by a long way.
Jubair Hossain, playing his first-ever T20 game at any level, bowled one extremely short ball which nearly bounced twice as Waller smashed his first six.
He clubbed the next ball for a huge six over midwicket and the Waller machine was up and rumbling.
Jubair conceded 17 in that first over but Nasir had more trouble in the next over.
Waller took all 20 runs, with two fours and two sixes, the second of which was parried over the ropes by Tamim Iqbal.
Waller soon reached his fifty off 20 balls, the fastest for a Zimbabwe batsmen in international cricket, eclipsing the 21-ball fifties of Dougie Marillier, Chigumbura and Williams. Mahmudullah then ended the 67-run fifth wicket stand by bowling Craig Ervine for 20.
Jubair was brought back for a second over and much to his relief, he got rid of Luke Jongwe and Neville Madziva.
Waller was finally sent back to the pavilion in the 18th over when he holed out to deep midwicket off Mustafizur Rahman.
He finished with 68 off 31 balls with four fours and the six sixes. Mustafizur wrapped up the innings with three balls to spare when he had Tinashe Panyangara lbw.
Mashrafe, Al-Amin, Mustafizur and Jubair all took two wickets apiece while Mahmudullah and Nasir claimed one each.
Bangladesh didn’t have a great start either, after Anamul Haque, in his first international match since the World Cup, fell run out in the first over, courtesy Raza’s brilliant stop at cover.
Sabbir Rahman, promoted to No. 3, crashed three boundaries but was undone for 18 off 16 balls, after Ervine too a good diving catch at midwicket in the sixth over.
Mushfiqur Rahim, though, got out to the worst ball, top-edging a long hop from Cremer in the next over.
Tamim, who was was watching all of this from the other end, batted quite sedately after the fall of Sabbir.
Nasir joined Tamim and hit the first six of the innings by creaming Williams over long-on He even got a boundary off Cremer’s next over but was out lbw next ball.
Tamim was also dismissed lbw in the same over, despite gesturing that he had hit the ball.
Bangladesh slipped to 80 for five in the eleventh over but Mahmudullah and Liton combined to put the hosts back on track.
They added 38 runs for the sixth with before Liton guided Chisoro to short third-man for 17, in the 16th over.
Mashrafe and Mahmudullah, however, finished the chase with 14 balls to spare.