Madziva heroics dampen year of the Tigers
One can't say that it wasn't on the cards. While Bangladesh did manage to escape a defeat despite poor batting in the first T20I, their bad run got to them in the second.
A brilliant comeback from Zimbabwe saw the visitors edge past the hosts by three wickets in Mirpur yesterday to draw the T20I series 1-1.
The message from yesterday's result, which completed an otherwise magnificent year for the Tigers on a sour note, was obvious. If the Tigers want to make any mark in next year's Asia Cup or even in the World Twenty20 in India, they desperately need to sort out their batting strategy in the shortest format of cricket.
After restricting Bangladesh to 135, Zimbabwe revived themselves from 39 for 5 after nine overs to requiring 43 runs in the last five overs. Malcolm Waller and Luke Jongwe brought Zimbabwe back from the dead by putting on 55 runs in just 41 deliveries.
The hosts relaxed a bit after Al-Amin removed Jongwe in the 16th over, however, the momentum shifted back towards the visitors after Neville Madziva smacked the bowler for two consecutive boundaries.
That brought down the equation to just 24 required off the last two overs. A brilliant penultimate over from Mustafizur Rahman, who gave away just six runs and was denied a wicket due to a no-ball for overstepping, left the visitors with a daunting task of 18 runs from the last over.
The equation turned harder for the visitors when Nasir Hossain, who bowled the last over, dismissed dangerman Waller off the first ball. But Madziva, who was hardly putting his bat to ball while Mustafizur was operating in the previous over and got the reprieve due to that no-ball, took the game from the firm grip of the Tigers by a whisker. His four-ball pyrotechnic that stunned the capacity home crowd into silence contained six, two, four and a massive six straight over the bowler's head. Madziva finished on 28 off just 19 deliveries.
“I enjoy facing spinners and I told myself that this was it. It was now or never. I was hundred percent sure that I could win this for my country,” an elated Madziva said after the match.
When asked to describe his feelings, Madziva replied with a mere 'whoa!'
His skipper, Elton Chigumbura, was more composed and described this victory as a morale boost for the team after the series ODI series defeats to Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Earlier, despite getting starts, none of Bangladesh's batters actually managed to move on. While Anamul Haque did score a cautious 47, in what was his second international match since the World Cup, he required 51 balls and struggled to pierce the gaps.
Tamim Iqbal was the only batsman who seemed to be able to hit the ball clean, smacking two sixes and a four early on. However, he was caught at long-on in the fourth over while attempting to clear the ropes for the third time.
Bangladesh lost quick wickets after Tamim's fall and the middle order crumbled.
After the exchange, Al-Amin Hossain removed Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams in consecutive deliveries in the second over. Mustafizur, coming in as the first-change in the fifth over, struck with his second delivery and got Regis Chakabva caught.
A run-out saw Craig Ervine depart in the eighth over while Elton Chigumbura fell exactly six balls later, getting caught at long-on. But that's when Zimbabwe's fightback started.