Sabbir special subdues Zimbabwe challenge
Bangladesh 167 for 3 (Sarkar 43, Sabbir 43) beat Zimbabwe 125 for 8 (Masakadza 30, Waller 29, Sabbir 3-11) by 42 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Sabbir Rahman gave an account of his all-round abilities in Bangladesh's 42-run win over Zimbabwe in the second T20 in Khulna. He smacked an unbeaten 43 before picking up the vital wicket of Hamilton Masakadza, one of his three scalps, as the wind was taken out of the visitors' 168-run chase in the ninth over.
Soumya Sarkar also made 43, but missed out on a bigger score after he threw his wicket away in the 10th over. Yet, Bangladesh kept hitting the boundaries - they managed 11 fours and eight sixes to equal their own record of most sixes in a T20 innings. Zimbabwe's reply was nearly a mirror image of Bangladesh's first half, until Sabbir came along to seal a victory that gave Bangladesh a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Bangladesh started well, but the real push came when Tamim Iqbal hammered Neville Madziva for a four and six in the fifth over. By getting into his hitting zone, he then smacked Taurai Muzarabani through cover in the next over. But just as he started to rev up his engine, he also found a top edge that was easily taken by Brian Vitori at fine leg in the sixth over.
Sarkar also looked authoritative by striking three fours and a six before Tamim fell and he then built the base further with Sabbir. He was particularly harsh on Graeme Cremer, the legspinner, who was hit for sixes over deep midwicket and long-on. But just like Tamim had done, Sarkar threw it away in the 10th over as Malcolm Waller took an easy catch at deep midwicket to end his promising innings of 43.
Zimbabwe were further boosted by the wicket of Mahmudullah, who fell to a superb catch by wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami. That meant Mushfiqur Rahim had to bat through the second half of the innings to give Bangladesh a solid total to defend. That he did, despite his hamstring pulling up in the 16th over, by adding 52 for the fourth wicket with Sabbir.
Sabbir made the most of a reprieve on 7 by Mutumbami as he lined up the straight boundaries well, even as Mushfiqur used the bowler's pace well in his 20-ball 24 before hobbling off the field. Shakib then finished off the innings with a cameo as Bangladesh took 50 off the last five overs. Yet, they would have perhaps felt 10-15 short.
Masakadza came out all guns blazing, hitting two fours and two sixes in 2.2 overs, while Vusi Sibanda also soon got into the act. Zimbabwe were reprieved twice in the fourth over bowled by Mashrafe Mortaza. First, the substitute Imrul Kayes dropped Masakadza at cover, before Shuvagata couldn't reach a chance at midwicket.
But Mashrafe soon had a wicket to show as Sibanda was bowled off the inside edge for 21 off 17. It was then that Sabbir was thrown the ball, and he delivered by having Masakadza caught at long-on for a 28-ball 30 that had three fours and two sixes. Sean Williams fell soon after to give Shuvagata his first T20I wicket and leave Zimbabwe needing a further 103 runs from the last ten overs. Sabbir then had the wicket of Mutumbami, who holed out to Sarkar at deep midwicket.
Malcolm Waller briefly kept Zimbabwe in it by striking a four each in the 13th, 14th and 15th over, but an already escalating rate was compounded by Bangladesh's spinners, who used the slowness of the surface well, and the chase spiralled out of control. Waller was eventually dismissed for a 21-ball 29 by Al-Amin Hossain in the 16th over.
With the game all but over, Mustafizur Rahman then came to the party to dismiss Madziva and Peter Moor in the 17th over to puncture Zimbabwe. The eighth wicket was fittingly taken by Sabbir, who became the second Bangladesh cricketer to score at least 40 and take two wickets in T20.
With a series win out of the equation, Zimbabwe have two more matches to potentially get their combinations right leading to the World T20.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84