Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Mahmudullah, bowlers take Bangladesh into tri-series final

Mahmudullah taps the ball towards the off side AFP

Bangladesh 175 for 7 (Mahmudullah 62, Jarvis 3-32) beat Zimbabwe 136 (Mutumbami 54, Shafiul 3-36) by 39 runs

With their backs up against the wall, Bangladesh cruised to a 39-run win over Zimbabwe in a sweltering Chattogram to book their place in next week's tri-series final. Put in to bat by Zimbabwe, Bangladesh's 175 for 7 was built around a 78-run fourth-wicket stand between Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. While Zimbabwe did well to hold Bangladesh back when they had been poised to score many more, they showed no such application with the bat in their chase. Brendan Taylor fell for a duck in the very first over, Zimbabwe stumbled through the Powerplay, and an eighth-wicket partnership of 58 between Richmond Mutumbami and Kyle Jarvis was their only combination of any substance as Bangladesh took full control.

Mahmudullah's sixes

Mahmudullah spanked five sixes in his 62 - only one less than Zimbabwe managed in their entire innings. Liton Das had cracked two of his own to lead Bangladesh's charge in the Powerplay, taking 21 off an over from young left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu, but when he, debutant Najmul Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan fell in the space of 17 deliveries, the momentum was transferred back to Zimbabwe. Mahmudullah ensured it didn't stay that way for long, stepping out to biff the very first ball he faced over long-off for six.

While Mushfiqur Rahim kept things ticking over at the other end, five overs later Mahmudullah was at it again. Sean Williams was slogged over long-on, just past the outstretched fingers of Tino Mutombodzi in that position, and soon afterwards it was Mutombodzi who was on the receiving end, with a floated legbreak flayed over long-off for Mahmudullah's third six.

By then, the fourth-wicket stand had passed fifty, the innings had been well and truly set up, and Mushfiqur joined the party by slog-sweeping a Chris Mpofu slower ball for a six of his own. He was out soon afterwards, but Mahudullah wasn't done yet, raising Bangladesh's 150 in the 18th over, and his own half-century three balls later with his fourth maximum via a muscular pull off Mpofu. He saved his best for last, with six No. 5 coming off a delivery from Mpofu that was only slightly too full, a low, dipping full toss being lifted cleanly over fine leg.

Full tosses do the trick

While Mpofu's full toss disappeared over fine leg, Kyle Jarvis found that the delivery worked rather well for him. He reverted quickly to the full toss as his stock delivery when he came back into the attack in the 18th over, bowling four in a row to keep Afif Hossain and the marauding Mahmudullah to just six off the over.

He used the same tactic in the final over of the innings, and the tactic bore dividends. Jarvis dished up a full toss that was only just under waist height to Mahmudullah, who aimed for the stands beyond square leg and a sixth six, but could only pick out Williams near the boundary. The next ball was an action replay, Mosaddek Hossain swinging a high full toss straight out to Regis Chakabva at deep midwicket, and all of a sudden Jarvis was on a hat-trick. But instead of sticking with the seemingly deadly full toss, Jarvis reverted to length, Mohammad Saifuddin clipping the hat-trick delivery to midwicket for two and then swatting the last ball, a bouncer, to midwicket for four to boost Bangladesh's total.

Disarray in the Powerplay

Faced with a challenging chase, Zimbabwe were hunting quick runs, but what they found was quite the opposite. Tied down for four runless deliveries in Saifuddin's opening over, Brendan Taylor aimed a wild swipe at the fifth and skied a simple chance to Shakib at mid-off. Three balls (and just two runs) later, Chakabva picked up the second duck of the innings.

The run rate was hobbled at under three an over when Shafiul Islam, playing his first T20I for almost two years, hurried Williams' pull to have him easily caught at midwicket with his very first ball. Though Hamilton Masakadza found his range with a couple of characteristically meaty strokes, and Mutombodzi swiped Mustafizur Rahman over long-on for six, Zimbabwe ended the Powerplay at 34 for 3, the required rate above 10 and their chase going nowhere fast.

A debut to remember

It came as something of a surprise when Aminul Islam was picked to make his T20I debut having never bowled in a domestic T20. Yet it proved a debut to remember for the 19-year-old, as he picked up a wicket with his third ball as Mutombodzi looked to plonk him over long-off, but could only get the ball as far as Najmul in the deep.

Aminul's next wicket was even more memorable. Masakadza, almost twice his age, seemed to be the only batsman in Zimbabwe's top order to have settled, but he was undone by some flight and dip from the young legspinner. Masakadza missed a sweep and was struck plumb in front. By the end of his spell, he had 2 for 18 and Zimbabwe were as good as sunk.

Zimbabwe 2nd innings Partnerships

1st0H MasakadzaBRM Taylor
2nd2H MasakadzaRW Chakabva
3rd6H MasakadzaSC Williams
4th27H MasakadzaCT Mutombodzi
5th2H MasakadzaRP Burl
6th7H MasakadzaR Mutumbami
7th22R MutumbamiN Madziva
8th58R MutumbamiKM Jarvis
9th12KM JarvisA Ndlovu
10th0CB MpofuA Ndlovu