Tigers tamed in tri-series openerStaff Correspondent
Bangladesh’s Twenty20 inexperience was blatantly exposed on Sunday when they threw a potential winning position to suffer an 11-run defeat to Zimbabwe in the opening match of the T20 tri-series tournament in Harare.
Set a target of 155 runs, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful provided the Tigers with a solid 61-run start and just when the middle-order was expected to accelerate they surprisingly caved in.
It was still possible for Bangladesh had vice-captain Mahmudullah not showed a complete ineptitude in the dying moments with them needing 28 runs in their last two overs.
Nasir Hossain had a lucky boundary in the first ball of the penultimate over and took a single off the next ball to give the strike to Mahmudullah, who once again proved he is not a T20 material as he was unable to match with the need of the hour.
Mahmudullah, who sensationally failed to score nine runs needed of the last over in the Bangladesh’s last one-day international match in the Asia Cup final, was just happy with singles that were just not enough.
He was finally out for 14 off 15 balls after wasting the first two balls of the final over when they needed 19 runs. The asking rate went out of the reach of Nasir Hossain, who was otherwise going fine at the other end to stay unbeaten on 29 off 15 balls.
The Tigers ended their 20 overs on 143-5, though at times it looked to be an easy ride for them when Tamim and Ashraful opened the innings.
Zimbabwe got their first breakthrough when Ashraful was beaten by sharp turn off a Prosper Utseya delivery ending his 28-ball innings of 22.
Ziaur Rahman was sent in at number three, but his lack of technique was clearly evident in his innings of 23 off 22 balls. Zia struck two fours and a six, but could not rotate the strike, which only helped the required run rate to soar.
Tamim looked well set at the other end, but perhaps frustrated at the swing-and-miss batting of his partner, he lost his concentration and miscued a Chris Mpofu delivery to get out on 38 off 35 balls.
Unheralded Richard Muzhange bowled Mushfiqur Rahim (five) to put Bangladesh under immense pressure and despite some immaculate hits from Nasir they were unable to reach the target.
‘I thought the boys really tried hard, but Zimbabwe executed their plans
better than us. I thought the wicket was still good and we had a good start, but Zimbabwe came back well in the middle overs. Ash [Ashraful] and Tamim were successful, hopefully we can learn from our mistakes,’ said Tigers skipper Mushfiq after the game.
Earlier, bowlers did a fine job for Bangladesh to prevent Zimbabwe from going berserk in the last few overs despite Hamilton Masakadza laying the foundation for them with a blazing 62 off 35 balls.
Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda (seven) made 47 runs in just 6.3 overs before Bangladesh had their first breakthrough with left-arm spinner Elias Sunny dragging the latter out of his crease for a simple stumping.
Skipper Brendon Taylor (38 off 41 balls) joined Masakadza to add 43 runs for the second wicket before Bangladesh finally made some impact in the game with two back-to-back run outs in successive overs.
Abul Hassan took two wickets in his last spell while Mashrafee bin Murtaza and Sunny chipped in with a wicket each as Bangladesh eventually restricted Zimbabwe to 154-6. Bangladesh will face South Africa in their second match of the tournament on Tuesday
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