Zimbabwe leveled the 4-match series 2-2 after they defeated Bangladesh by 18 runs in the fourth T20I at Khulna’s Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium today.
Visitors took early wickets in the chase, and never looked back after they broke the sixth-wicket resistance pf Mahmudullah and Nurul Hasan.
|Bangladesh v Zimbabwe|
|Bangladesh: 162 (19/20 over)|
|Zimbabwe: 180/4 (20/20 over)|
Neville Madziva was the most successful bowler for his side, and took four wickets for 34 runs in four overs. Tendai Chisoro captured three for 17 in four. Sikandar Raza bowled three overs, gave away 31 runs and sent back two Bangladeshi batters.
For Bangladesh, Mahmudullah was the top-scorer with 54 runs. Mashrafe was the next highest scorer with 22 on a miserable evening for his team.
The last nail into Bangladesh’s coffin was hammered in the 19th over when Madziva sent back Abu Hider to the jubilation of his teammates.
Madziva was lethal late in the innings, and bowled full and straight when the tailenders were throwing the kitchen sink. Arafat Sunny was dismissed for ten when he inside-edged the ball onto his stumps.
Mashrafe’s cameo of 22 from 12 balls gave the home crowd something to cheer about, but in all fairness it was too little too late as far as the match was concerned.
Luke Jongwe returned in the 18 th over and dismissed the Tigers skipper. Mashrafe smashed a four and two sixes.
Bangladesh’s hopes of an unlikely win were dashed completely when Chisoro clean bowled Mahmudullah for 54. Tigers batter faced 41 balls, and smoked five fours and two sixes to the delight of the Khulna crowd.
After a timely 57-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan fell in the 14th over to Sikandar Raza, and left the field with the match poised precariously going down to the wire.
Nurul managed 15 runs from 15 balls, and turned over the strike to his partner as much as he could.
Bangladesh’s chase suffered a mortal blow in the seventh over when Imrul Kayes went back to the pavilion with only 18 runs to his name.
Kayes went back and smashed a short ball from Sikandar Raza, but found the fielder at the deep to his disappointment. Zimbabwe were firmly in the driver’s seat after Imrul’s wicket.
Zimbabwe new ball bowlers Chisoro and Madziva gave their team the best possible start by picking up crucial wickets to dash Bangladesh’s hopes of a win under the lights.
Bangladesh continued to slide, after both Shakib and Sabbir were dismissed in the third over.
Shakib went for a big heave, missed the ball and was sent back for four runs by Chisoro. His wicket silenced the crowd, as they sensed the worst.
Sabbir Rahman threw away his wicket in the third over, when he couldn’t hit a full toss properly. He meekly lofted the ball to the substitute fielder at long-on. Bangladesh reeling….
Tamim Iqbal lasted 12 minutes, played two balls, scored a single run. He failed to deal with a slower yorker from Madziva, tried to flick but missed it altogether.
Soumya Sarkar fell in the second over, and his run of poor scores continued with another failure with the bat. Soumya went for a cut but only managed a thin feather through to the keeper.
He was the first wicket to fall, after scoring 11 from 7 balls.
Earlier, Zimbabwe posted 180 for four, their highest total against Bangladesh during the fourth and final T20I of the series at Khulna thanks to a masterclass from Masakadza.
Hamilton Masakadza batted through the innings, and was unbeaten at the end with 93 runs from only 58 balls. His knock contained eight fours and five massive sixes.
He was ably supported by Mutumbani and Waller, both of whom made useful thirties. Waller’s 36 from 18 gave his side the surge late in the innings.
For Bangladesh, Mashrafe, Shakib, Abu Hider and Taskin all picked up a wicket, but conceded too many runs for their liking.
Shakib Al Hasan picked his 50th wicket in T20I for Bangladesh in this match when he snared Sikandar Raza for two in the 17th over.
The leading wicket-taker for Tigers in T20Is and Tests, Shakib allowed his team to pull things back with Masakadza mauling at the other end.
Taskin Ahmed’s bad day became slightly better when he came back in the 16 th over and broke the Waller-Masakadza stand that produced 60 runs in quick time.
Taskin’s full and straight delivery sneaked between bat and pad and disturbed Waller’s furniture. Waller smacked 36 from only 18 balls with a four and three sixes to his name.
Hamilton Masakadza stamped his authority on the match with a belligerent fifty to give Zimbabwe the platform for a big total in the deciding T20I.
He faced 35 balls for his half-century, and smashed five fours and two sixes with brutal power.
Abu Hider struck in the 11th over to pull back things for Bangladesh. He ended the 2nd wicket partnership that yielded 80 runs by dismissing Mutumbami.
Zimbabwe batter was beaten by pace and late swing as Hider’s yorker didn’t miss its target. Mutumbami contributed with 32 runs from 25 balls with three fours and a six.
Zimbabwe’s Hamilton Masakadza took upon himself to steer his side’s innings after the loss of the first batter. He played positively and peppered the field with some forceful drives off the front foot.
With Masakadza going strong, the second wicket stand for the visitors reached 71 runs in 8.1 overs with Mutumbamu playing second fiddle with ease.
It took Bangladesh five balls to get their first breakthrough when skipper Mashrafe Mortaza got one to hold up on Sibanda and dismiss the batter for four runs.
Sibanda tried to smash a good length delivery outside off but badly timed his shot only to offer a simple catch to Shakib at cover. His wicket was a sign of the nature of the pitch, which may not be as conducive for stroke-play as predicted earlier.
After the coin was tossed, if fell in favour of Zimbabwe’s skipper Elton Chigumbura, who didn’t hesitate to bat first and make early use of the batting pitch at Khulna in the 4th T20I of the series against Bangladesh today.
The visitors had their backs against the wall prior to Wednesday, January 20 and having overcome the obstacle, they will now be able to play with a lot more confidence.
Having gone down to Afghanistan recently, a draw against Bangladesh away from home can help them gain much-needed confidence.
The Bangladeshi side, on the other hand, is most likely going to take a step back from its initial strategy of providing all the new players with enough game time and bring some changes in order to ensure a series victory.
While the team's makeup in the third T20I was criticised heavily, team manager Khaled Mahmud defended the tactic.
“We gave these players enough chances to play because of a bad experience we had during the 2015 World Cup. When Al-Amin Hossain and Anamul Haque had to go they were replaced by Shafiul Islam and Imrul Kayes."
The game could end up being the only close one in the four-match series, but both teams will still be on the lookout for any performing newcomer. For Bangladesh, securing the series win will seem to matter a little more, given how they lost the third game.
Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nurul Hasan (Wicketkeeper), Mashrafe Mortaza (Captain), Arafat Sunny, Taskin Ahmed and Abu Hider
H Masakadza, V Sibanda, R Mutumbami (Wicketkeeper), E Chigumbura (Captain), MN Waller, Sikandar Raza, PJ Moor, LM Jongwe, TS Chisoro, N Madziva and AG Cremer