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Afif Hossain hits a scintillating four as Bangladesh beats Zimbabwe by 3 wickets in the opening game of triangular T20I series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Friday Photo: Courtesy

Afif Hossain blinder saves Bangladesh’s blushes

The lower-order batsman scored an amazing fifty lifting the hosts from 60 for 6 to an improbable victory

WT24 Desk

Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and opted to bowl in the truncated opening match of the T20I tri-series. The start of the match was delayed by almost 90 minutes due to evening showers that left some sections of the outfield water-logged, and as a result the match was also reduced to 18 overs a side, ESPNCricinfo reports.

“With rain around, we’re not sure about the weather and not sure about a winning total, so we’ve put them in to bat,” Shakib explained at the toss. “Hopefully we can get some early wickets and put them under pressure. This is a completely different format, and anyone can win the match on a good day.”

There are debutants on both sides, with Taijul Islam picked by Bangladesh, and young offspinning-allrounder Tony Munyonga handed a first cap for Zimbabwe.

The groundstaff also had plenty of work to do drying some damp, greasy spots near the crease. With plenty of rain around over the last few days, the pitch had been covered, and neither captain appeared entirely sure what to expect.

“We probably would have bowled as well,” admitted Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza. “The wicket has been under covers, so we’re not sure what to expect. We’ll take whatever international cricket we can get. We don’t get to play much. It’s my last series, so hoping to go out with a bang.”

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