Soumya-Naim fifties help Tigers clinch first T20I
Fifties from Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Naim during a record opening T20 stand for Bangladesh, helped Tigers chase down Zimbabwe's 152 to win by eight wickets at Harare today. Naim provided the finishing touch with a 51-ball 63, laced with six fours as Bangladesh went 1-0 up in the series in what was the Tigers' 100th T20I match.
Regis Chakabva effected a brilliant run out to remove Soumya, flicking the ball quickly with a no-look throw to dislodge the bails as Soumya failed to complete a two and was gone for 50 off 45 deliveries in the 14th over.
Before that, Soumya and Naim strung together the highest opening stand in T20 cricket for Bangladesh with 102 runs, going past Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal's 92-run stand against Zimbabwe last year.
Soumya started off slow but gradually asserted his dominance during an innings, laced with four fours and two sixes. Naim at the other end got into his groove in the fourth over, hitting three fours off Richard Ngarava. Bangladesh were in cruise control as Naim went on to complete his fifty after Soumya's departure.
Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad promoted himself to number three and showed his intent on the first delivery as danced down the wicket and hit Ngarava straight past the bowler. Blessing Muzarabani then came up with another direct hit as Riyad failed to complete a single and departed after a 12-ball 15.
With 27 runs needed in three overs, Nurul Hasan Sohan and Naim hit a boundary each to pick up 16 runs in the 18th over and keep things under control. Muzarabani had been miserly in his first three overs, giving away just 8 runs but the 19th over of the innings saw Sohan pick up his low full toss over square-leg for six before Naim finished things off with a lofted boundary over mid off to provide the finishing touch while Sohan's 8-ball 16 was effective in averting pressure in the end as Tigers got past Zimbabwe's score with an over to spare..
Earlier, Zimbabwe got off to a powerful start with the bat after winning the toss, picking up 91 runs in the first 10 overs for two wickets. The Tigers' pacers were able to curb things back through their pace bowlers. Eight Zimbabwe wickets fell in the following nine overs for 61 runs as the hosts were bowled out for 152 in nine overs. Mustafizur Rahman bagged three wickets while Shoriful Islam and Mohammad Saifuddin bagged two each.