Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 1st T20I - Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al-Hasan lead hosts to four-wicket win
Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by four wickets in the first match of the four-match T20I series in Khulna and take a 1-0 lead in what was a close contest. Bangladesh chased down a target of 164 with 8 balls to spare as all-rounder, Shakib Al-Hasan guided the hosts to a convincing victory.
Zimbabwe won the toss and chose to bat and got off to a brilliant start after excellent performances from their openers, Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza. The opening duo put up a first-wicket partnership of 101 in just 12 overs.
Sibanda was the first to depart after a 39-ball 46 runs after giving good support to the attacking H Masakadza. Having got off to such a great start, Zimbabwe would have hoped to post a big total in their 20 overs.
However, some good bowling by the Bangladeshi bowlers pegged back any chances of a late Zimbabwean batting onslaught as they conceded only 62 runs in the last eight overs. H Masakadza was the top-scorer for Zimbabwe after he scored a well-made 79 off just 53 balls, hitting nine fours and two sixes.
Mustafizur Rahman and Al-Amin Hossain picked up two wickets each for Bangladesh and were the best bowlers for their team as Shakib Al-Hasan picked up one wicket.
Bangladesh got their chase on the right note, scoring 31 runs in 3.3 overs before opener Soumya Sarkar was run out. Sabbir Rahman, who was sent in to bat at No. 3, played an excellent anchor knock and set the foundation for the chase along with Tamim Iqbal, who scored a useful 29 off 24.
S Rahman scored 46 off 36 balls and kept the scoreboard ticking to stay within the required run rate range. Mushfiqur Rahim contributed with 26 runs off 19 balls. Shakib came in at No. 6 and finished things for Bangladesh as he scored an unbeaten 20 off 13 balls.
Graeme Cremer picked up two wickets for Zimbabwe while Wellington Masakadza, the younger brother of Hamilton Masakadza, Luke Jongwe and Sean Williams picked up a wicket each.
With senior players like Sean Williams and Vusi Sibanda having returned to the squad, Zimbabwe will feel hard done by having lost this match after being in control at one point of time. They will be hoping to put in a better performance in the second T20I on Sunday.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 166/6, 18.4 overs (Sabbir Rahman 46, Iqbal 29; Cremer 2/32) beat Zimbabwe 163/7, 20 overs (Hamilton Masakadza 79, Sibanda 46; Mustafizur Rahman 2/18, Al-Amin Hossain 2/24) by four wickets.
Man of the match: Hamilton Masakadza