Zimbabwe chased down Bangladesh’s lowly 135 for 9 in what was a cracking finish to the second T20 in Mirpur: they won by three wickets, with a six, with one ball to spare, registering their first victory against the hosts on this tour. Once again it was Malcolm Waller who led Zimbabwe’s counterattack, before the crowd was silenced when Neville Madziva swung hard at fifth ball of the final over, sending it flying over the long-on boundary to get the visitors the six more they needed.
With 18 needed off the last over, Nasir Hossain struck with his offspin, getting rid of the dangerous Waller, who holed out to long-on for 40 off 26 balls. The next ball, Madziva – who had already got his eye in having played 15 balls – struck a six over cover, before taking two down the ground and swinging wildly at a full, wide delivery to get the ball past backward point for another four. So six was needed off the last two, one more ball than Madziva required. His winning hit went so high that the crowd held its breath, even as Madziva started celebrating. He had made 28 off 19 balls, singlehandedly producing all 18 needed in the last over. How Bangladesh must have rued the moment in the previous over, then, when he had edged through to Mushfiqur Rahim only for the umpires to find on the replay that Mustafizur Rahman had overstepped – an extremely tight but just call.
Zimbabwe had made a poor start with the bat, like they did in the first T20 and all three ODIs on this tour. Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams got out to the first two deliveries sent down by Al-Amin Hossain. Raza was well caught by Mushfiqur after the ball took the inside edge. Williams was done in by an inswinger, which sent the crowd into frenzy.
In the fifth over Regis Chakabva skied Mustafizur’s second ball after nearly popping a return-catch off the first one (which also broke his bat). Zimbabwe further slipped in the eighth over when Craig Ervine was run out after a mix-up with Luke Jongwe. Soon after, captain Elton Chigumbura was out for a duck and it seemed Bangladesh were well on top.
But the Waller-Jongwe partnership changed the momentum for Zimbabwe. They added 55 runs quickly with Waller once again being the enforcer, hitting three sixes in the arc between wide long-on and midwicket. Zimbabwe needed 84 off the last 10 overs and the sixth-wicket pair picked up 41 runs in the next five overs to keep them in the hunt.
Jongwe was dismissed when he couldn’t get Al-Amin away in the 16th over, getting caught at square leg for 34 off 38 balls. Mustafizur then bowled a telling third over, the 17th of the innings, getting five dot balls and conceding just three runs.
It left Zimbabwe needing 34 runs off the last three overs, and finally Madziva connected properly. He struck fours over short fine-leg and backward point. Ten runs came from this over and the 19th over started with Waller flapping Mustafizur over fine leg for a boundary, all building up to a tense final over.
Earlier, Mashrafe Mortaza chose to bat, Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes got Bangladesh off to a fast start, hitting three fours and two sixes between them in the first 3.1 overs. Tamim struck the sixes off Madziva, but fell to the same bowler, caught at long-on by Chigumbura. Next over it was Kayes’ turn to head to the pavilion after he was brilliantly caught at point by Williams, who dived full length to his left to pluck the low square-drive. And Bangladesh’s run rate quickly slowed.
Mushfiqur tried to put the pressure back at the Zimbabwe but he fell to a catch at long-leg while slog sweeping, and Sabbir Rahman and Anamul Haque added 39 runs but used up over six overs before Sabbir was given leg-before. Most of the rest were out trying to get the big shots away, with the Bangladesh innings becoming even more sluggish.
Anamul batted till the final over to get 47 off 51 balls with three boundaries, two of which came in the 16th over through inside-out shots over cover. Otherwise it was an innings that had hardly any fluency – he played out 18 dot balls.
Tinashe Panyangara was, for the umpteenth time, the best bowler on show taking 3 for 30 in his four overs, while there were two each for Madziva and legspinner Graeme Cremer. Zimbabwe allowed the home batsmen only only 33 runs in the last five overs, taking five wickets. Eventually, that made the difference.