Bangladesh outdid Zimbabwe in Khulna by being the scrappier of the two sides, winning the first T20 by four wickets. Zimbabwe suffered a middle-order collapse which left them with a much lower score than they had hoped for, and Bangladesh eventually gunned down their target of 164 with eight deliveries to spare.
When Mahmudullah was the sixth batsman to fall in the 17th over of Bangladesh’s chase, Shakib Al Hasan had debutant Nurul Hasan to steer the hosts to score the remaining 27 runs in 3.1 overs. Brian Vitori then proceeded to leak 14 runs off an over, including a four off a Nurul scoop, and five wides down the leg-side. In the penultimate over, Shakib struck two fours, the first edged through third-man and the next a cool flick over square-leg, before Luke Jongwe bowled a horrible wide that flew past the wicketkeeper for a boundary, completing Bangladesh’s victory.
Soumya Sarkar was Bangladesh’s first wicket, running himself out after a horrendous mix-up with Tamim Iqbal, with both batsmen ending up in the striker’s end after Tamim had whipped a ball to short fine-leg. Tamim was soon dismissed, in the seventh over, having struck three fours and a six in his 24-ball 29 which featured a commanding start but an insipid ending. Shuvagata Hom, one of two debutants for Bangladesh, fell for 6 when a Sean Williams delivery spun past his bat to knock off the off-bail.
Bangladesh were nearly at par with Zimbabwe in the ten-over mark, but had a set Sabbir Rahman, sent to bat at No 3. Sabbir was dropped on 36 when Vusi Sibanda failed to claim a catch at long-on in the 12th over. He struck a clean blow over midwicket for six before giving a catch to deep midwicket off the next ball, falling for a 36-ball 46.
Mushfiqur too fell in the same area, attempting a similar shot after making 26 off 19 balls, leaving Mahmudullah and Shakib with 39 to get from the last 4.1 overs. Mahmudullah smacked Luke Jongwe for a six over cover, but missed a straight delivery the next ball to get bowled for 7. Thankfully for him and Bangladesh, Shakib stayed till the end to power the hosts to a series lead.
Earlier, Zimbabwe, having opted to bat, could not have asked for a better start from their openers Hamilton Masakadza and the returning Sibanda. The pair started off with seven fours and a six in the Powerplay overs, Masakadza finding the rope thrice in Mashrafe’s second over, while Sibanda launched into Shakib’s flighted offering over long-on for the first six of the match. They added 50 in 6.3 overs but the boundary hunting was still on. Two more sixes followed, the second of which, hit by Sibanda, was juggled at the boundary several times before Soumya toed the rope with the ball in his grasp.
Sibanda, though, was out next ball, caught at cover for 46 off 39 balls with four fours and the two sixes. But the 101 runs he and Masakadza added were Zimbabwe’s highest for the opening wicket in T20s. Masakadza kept up the pressure and was about to topple his and his team’s highest individual score in T20s, but was run out for 79 in the 18th over, falling short of the crease as Nurul , the debutant wicketkeeper, managed a direct hit. Nurul had earlier combined well with Sabbir Rahman to also run out Malcolm Waller for 14.
Masakadza’s 53-ball knock had nine fours and two sixes but Zimbabwe struggled to take advantage of his efforts. In the over after Masakadza’s dismissal, Zimbabwe’s captain Elton Chigumbura and Luke Jongwe were both yorked by Mustafizur Rahman; the first was on middle and the next on leg-stump. Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams got out in the last over to Al-Amin Hossain as Zimbabwe got only 21 runs in the last four overs, losing five wickets in the process, CricinfoESPN reports.