New-look Tigers lose first T20I
Despite signs of intent, a new-look Bangladesh were unable to turn their fortunes around in T20Is, suffering a 17-run defeat to Zimbabwe in the first T20I of the three-match series at the Harare Sports Club yesterday.
This was Bangladesh's 12th defeat in their last 13 T20Is.
Stand-in skipper Nurul Hasan Sohan scored a career-best unbeaten 26-ball 42, laced with four maximums and a boundary, but was unable to help Bangladesh chase down Zimbabwe's daunting total of 205 for three -- the highest T20I total for Zimbabwe in Harare and their second-highest total in T20Is overall.
Sohan also stitched together quickfire stands of 40 and 32 runs with Shanto (37 off 25) and Mosaddek Hossain (13 off 10) for the fourth and fifth wickets respectively, briefly raising hopes of a dramatic ending. But Bangladesh eventually fell short, restricted to 188 for six.
A tight penultimate over from Richard Ngarava was crucial to Zimbabwe's success. Ngarava, who had conceded 39 runs off his first three overs, conceded just four runs from that over while also removing Mosaddek. More importantly, he left Bangladesh needing 28 from the final over.
The match was considered a test for youngsters and fresh captain Sohan, who was only given the job at the eleventh hour. In fact, it was only the second T20I that Bangladesh played without any of their four stalwarts -- Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal.
While batters were able to at least spark life into the game with some crucial boundaries, it was a rather disappointing showing from the bowlers. On a sporting wicket in Harare, the bowlers struggled to maintain decent line and length as Zimbabwe scored some quick runs in the middle and death overs to get past the 200-run mark for only the third time in T20Is.
Sikandar Raza (65 off 26) and Wessly Madhevere (46 off 67) smashed unbeaten fifties while Sean Williams scored a quick-fire 33 off 19 to help Zimbabwe set an imposing target.
Playing his 67th T20I, Mustafizur Rahman, the most experienced player on the field, was taken for the most runs. The left-arm pacer conceded 50 off his four overs, scalping two wickets.