Tigers clinch T20I series to stay perfect
Bangladesh maintained a stranglehold over Zimbabwe, getting the perfect finish in the T20I series to ensure that they scooped all three trophies on the tour by chasing their second-highest target, a formidable 194 posted by the hosts in third and final T20I in Harare yesterday.
Left-handed opener Soumya Sarkar struck his second fifty of the series and top-scored with 68 off 49 balls with nine fours and a six as Bangladesh won by five wickets. Young left-hander Shamim Hossain also showed his ability as a finisher once again, remaining unbeaten on a 15-ball 31, having smashed six fours.
Skipper Mahmudullah Riyad played a crucial innings of 34 from 28 balls to keep the Tigers in the hunt after losing a few wickets in the middle. The T20I skipper also believed that the series win in Zimbabwe would help the Tigers ahead of a tough upcoming home assignment against Australia.
"The boys showed character, everybody contributed. In the end, Shamim played a crucial knock and all in all it was a good show by the batting unit. When you chase these big totals, you need partnerships to keep the score ticking over, and at least a boundary every over," Mahmudullah said after the win.
"I think Soumya is a useful all-rounder. When I gave him the ball, he got me two wickets and when the team needed him to stand up with the bat, he did it," Riyad said, adding with a laugh: "Looking forward to the next bubble and the next series."
With a win in the T20I series, Bangladesh completed their fine run across the formats, having previously won the lone Test and securing a whitewash in the three-match ODI series.
Earlier, Zimbabwe posted their second-highest total in the shortest format by putting 193 for five on the scoreboard.
Openers Tadiwanashe Manumari and Wesseley Madhevere gave the hosts a flying start, adding 63 runs in the first six overs. Marumari was dismissed on 27 off 20 balls after hitting two sixes and two fours but Madhevere was in terrific touch, striking five consecutive boundaries off pacer Taskin Ahmed to take 20 runs in the fourth over.
The right-hander, who struck his fourth T20I fifty off 31 balls, was eventually dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan after scoring 54 off 36 balls with six fours.
Regis Chakabva then took charge, striking three sixes in an over off left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed which cost 21 runs. Nasum gave away 37 runs from his three overs and remained wicketless on comeback.
Soumya Sarkar provided the breakthrough with the ball in the form of a double-blow, first dismissing Chakabva for 48, which saw Naim Sheikh and Shamim take a brilliant relay catch at the boundary line. Zimbabwean skipper Sikandar Raza was then bowled for a duck as Bangladesh made inroads.
Left-hander Ryan Burl also played a part, remaining unbeaten on a 15-ball 31 while Dion Myers added 23.