Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 3rd T20I, Khulna January 20, 2016

Waller brings cheer back to Zimbabwe

Malcolm Waller 23-ball 49 helped Zimbabwe amass 187 for 6 © AFP

Bangladesh struck more fours, but Zimbabwe were way ahead in the sixes tally in the third T20I in Khulna. The home side were not able to get any boundaries for 36 balls since the start of the 11th over. They had eight wickets in hand at the time, and needed to go after the bowling considering the asking rate was over 10.

Zimbabwe stifling the runs during that period, and Malcolm Waller's big-hitting 49 shaped their 31-run win to stay alive in the four-match series. He struck four sixes, one each in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th overs, lifting his team to 187 for 6 in their 20 overs.

This win is Zimbabwe's first in T20Is since November last year, which was also against Bangladesh and Waller had been the guiding hand again striking 40 off 27 balls in a final-over thriller.

"Winning this game was very nice," he said. "The guys are very happy. It is a happy change room. There's a lot of laughter. To get a win was definitely good. In the last few weeks we have played games probably we should have won but couldn't quite get over the line. So to do that today, we are happy for all of us."

Waller believed batting first had been an advantage in Khulna, where rain delayed the start of the match and also interrupted play in the first innings. "I think the way we were going about it, it was probably good to bat first on this wicket and set a target. Having a score on the board is obviously a good positive thing. No matter what the conditions look like, we will bat first and defend.

Waller also made a point to say that wet conditions were not the deciding factor since, like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe's bowlers also had a tough time on the field. "It was just as difficult for us in the field. The ball was really wet. It was tough for our spinners to hold the ball and seamers to bowl slower balls. I know the pitch got slower but we batted 12 overs in the wet conditions. So I am not sure rain had a big part [in Bangladesh's defeat]," he said.

Elton Chigumbura was rested for the second game in a row, but Waller said that it was just a ploy to test other players. "We have had a lot of cricket over the last four months. We have been away from home a lot.

"This is a good time for us to try different combinations - rest Elton and watch other guys. He will be back but it is a good opportunity to show what the other guys can do before the World T20."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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  • tinodaishe2016 on January 21, 2016, 5:39 GMT

    Well played Zim ,a welcome result .Sibanda and Hamie should be the openers ,anchored by Waller ,Williams ,Raza , and Ervine.It was also refreshing to see Cremer thriving in those conditions ,its a big plus to our world cup team .However we have to drop Mutumbami and give gloves to Moor then bring back Elton we stil need his big hitting .Keep up the form Zim well done.

  • Stone_wall on January 20, 2016, 23:53 GMT

    He's a must for the 20/20 WC qualifiers, has a strike rate of 150 and has come up with the goods on a couple of occasions in this format recently. One thing that does trouble me is that sometimes he seems to try and bludgeon the ball from ball one. Today he had a few siters before letting rip. Keep the form up Waller, Zim need to qualify for WC purely from a financial perspective. Good to see a lot of the top order firing, a couple of experiments have worked - Sibanda and Masakadza opening and Waller's big hitting, Williams was better today with the bat as was Raza with the ball. Mutumbani needs to go though, rubbish keeper who has at least two howlers a game, (have also never seen a keeper who gets injured as much as he does) needs to work on his keeping skills and his batting, give Moor the gloves. I would like to know why Burl is not in the team, is Ervine injured as well or is something else going on? We need some more left handers in the line up to mess with the bowlers lines.

  • Dawena on January 20, 2016, 21:20 GMT

    Malcolm, this is the sort of performance we expect from you (and a few others for that matter) every time you pull on Zim colors. Good knock.

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