Mosaddek stars as the unlikely source
It was a one-man show from Mosaddek Hossain as the Bangladesh off-spinner restricted Zimbabwe to 135 for 8 in the second T20I in Harare yesterday.
Mosaddek, who became only the fourth Bangladeshi bowler to pick up a five-wicket haul in T20I format, helped the visitors to stage a fightback following a 17-run defeat in the first game on Saturday.
It was a much better bowling performance from the Tigers after the dismal show in the first game where Zimbabwe posted a record 205 for 3 on a batting-friendly Harare surface.
Mosaddek remained the chief destroyer for the Tigers after Zimbabwe elected to bat as he removed opener Regis Chakabva in the innings' first ball after the right-hander went for a fancy drive and was caught behind without troubling the score.
In the same over, a teasing delivery outside the off stump lured Wessley Madhevere (4) to hand a simple catch at cover point. One by one, Mosaddek went on to remove the next three batters in as many overs, which he bowled on the trot, leaving Zimbabwe wobbling at 31 for 5 inside seven overs.
The part time off spinner, realising the importance of pace variation, bowled a lot slower to dismiss Zimbabwean skipper Craig Ervine (1), who brought his downfall by opting for a reverse sweep and deflected the ball from his gloves to get caught at slip.
Bangladesh were on a roll when Mosaddek removed the dangerous Sean Williams (8) with a sharp return catch and achieved the rare feat of a fifer by dismissing Shumba (3).
The 26-year-old ended up with impressive figures of five for 20 from his four overs, which is also the joint second-best bowling figure by a Bangladeshi in the format, equalling Shakib Al Hasan's career-best figures in T20Is.
Left-arm spinner Elias Sunny leads the chart for Bangladesh with figures of five for 13 against Ireland back in 2012, while Mustafizur Rahman's five for 22 against New Zealand in the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup puts him in the fourth spot.
Skipper Nurul Hasan Sohan's gamble to hand Mosaddek to open the innings, despite having four specialist bowlers in the line-up, paid off completely and the cricketer from Mymensingh capitalised on the opportunity.
Interestingly, Mosaddek had scalped a five-wicket haul just once in the List A competition and his maiden fifer in international cricket came when the Tigers desperately needed something special from the bowlers. Wickets aside, he enforced a tight leash on the Zimbabwean batters, bowling 15 dot deliveries in his four overs quota, causing the home side to commit unforced errors.
Mosaddek, who had picked just seven wickets in his previous 19 T20Is, became the only Bangladeshi bowler to pick all of the top five wickets of a team yesterday.
Although Zimbabwe managed to recover from the early slump by riding on Sikandar Raza's second consecutive fifty in the series, the visitors got the platform to keep the three-match series alive.