Zimbabwe put in a wonderful all-round performance in the third of the four T20Is in Khulna and beat Bangladesh by 31 runs to come back into the series 2-1. Bangladesh fell well short of the target of 188 as the Zimbabwean bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals and restricted the hosts’ batsmen.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors posted their third-highest T20I total after some excellent batting by the top-order and the middle-order. Captain Hamilton Masakadza and fellow opener Vusi Sibanda got Zimbabwe off to a great start.
Masakadza scored a quick 20 before he became Mohammad Shahid's first wicket in T20I cricket. Sibanda, however, continued batting very well and scored a 33-ball 44.
The middle-order continued on the good start that the openers gave as kept the run consistently above nine runs an over. The 76-run partnership between Sean Williams and Malcolm Waller was extremely crucial in getting Zimbabwe to a competitive total.
Waller scored a quickfire 49 off 23 balls which included two fours and four sixes, while Williams scored a sensible knock of 32 to help Zimbabwe reach 187.
Shakib Al-Hasan picked up three wickets for the home side while debutant Abu Hider picked up two.
Although Bangladesh lost Imrul Kayes early on, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman were involved in a 67-run partnership that took Bangladesh to 69/2 in 8 overs.
However, once the in-form Sabbir Rahman fell for 50, it was downhill for the hosts. Bangladesh lost four wickets for just 15 runs and lost all their main batsmen.
Needing 81 runs from five overs was near to impossible for newcomers, all-rounder Mukhtar Ali and wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan. The two youngsters did restore some respectability as they put in a 49-run partnership. The late onslaught just came a bit too late for the home side.
Nurul Hasan scored 30 off just 17 balls and was the second-highest scorer for Bangladesh.
Zimbabwean bowlers, Tendai Chisoro, Graeme Cremer and Sikandar Raza bowled brilliantly for the visitors as they picked up one, three and two wickets each respectively. The bowling trio kept it tight and did not allow the Bangladeshi batsmen to score freely.
After having been 2-0 down after the first two games, this was a game that Zimbabwe had to win and they did it brilliant fashion as they did well with both the ball and the bat.
The visitors will be looking to level the series in the final T20I which is scheduled to be played on January 22.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe (toss) 187/6, 20 overs (Waller 49, Sibanda 44; Shakib Al-Hasan 3/32) beat Bangladesh 156/6, 20 overs (Sabbir Rahman 50, Nurul Hasan 30*; Cremer 3/18, Raza 2/7) by 31 runs.Published 20 Jan 2016, 18:42 IST