Zimbabwe make stunning comeback to level T20I series 2-2
Zimbabwe won the fourth and final T20I against Bangladesh in Khulna by 18 runs to make a stunning comeback in the series and level it 2-2. Hamilton Masakadza's brilliant unbeaten knock of 93 helped the visitors post a big total on board and a superlative performance from the bowlers did not give the hosts any chance.
After winning the toss, Zimbabwe captain, Elton Chigumbura chose to bat first on a pitch that they were playing for the fourth time in the last one week.
Vusi Sibanda, who has been in great form in the series, fell early as he scored just four runs. However, an 80-run partnership between Masakadza and Richmond Mutumbami set the platform for the visitors to put on a good score in their 20 overs.
Malcolm Waller, who came in to bat at No. 4 after the dismissal of Sibanda, played a quickfire 36 off 18 hitting one four and three sixes. His 61-run partnership with Masakadza propelled Zimbabwe's run rate.
Masakadza has been Zimbabwe's best batsman in the past few months and he continued to show why as he scored a brilliant knock of 93 off just 58 balls. His unbeaten innings included eight fours and five sixes and helped Zimbabwe reach 180 in 20 overs.
Mashrafe Mortaza, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Hider and Shakib Al-Hasan picked up one wicket each for the home side as all bowlers went for more than eight runs an over.
Bangladesh got to a horrific start as they lost their first four wickets in 2.4 overs for just 17 runs. Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah tried to stabilise the innings with their 36-run partnership. However, Kayes was dismissed in Sikandar Raza's first over and Zimbabwe were halfway through to a famous comeback.
Mahmudullah, however, scored a great half-century and did his best to elevate his team's chances. A 57-run partnership with wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan did give some hope to the home fans that their team might fight back and win the series.
Zimbabwean bowlers continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals as the Bangladesh tail-enders only delayed the inevitable. Captain Mortaza scored a quick 22 off 12 balls before he was dismissed by Luke Jongwe.
Tendai Chisoro and Neville Madziva were the best of the bowlers for the visitors as they picked up three wickets and four wickets respectively. Raza and Jongwe also contributed by picking up two wickets and a wicket each.
Masakadza's excellent batting performance earned him the man-of-the-match as well as the man-of-the-series awards. He scored 222 runs in four matches at an impressive average of 74 and at a strike rate of 145.09.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 180/4, 20 overs (Masakadza 93*, Waller, 36; Ahmed 1/32) beat Bangladesh 162/10, 19 overs (Mahmudullah 54, Mortaza 22; Madziva 4/34, Chisoro 3/17) by 18 runs.
Man of the match: Hamilton Masakadza
Man of the series: Hamilton Masakadza