Zimbabwe 205 for 3 (Madhevere 67, Raza 65*, Mustafizur 2-50) beat Bangladesh 188 for 6 (Nurul 42*, Shanto 37, Jongwe 2-34) by 17 runs
A late flourish by Bangladesh captain Nurul Hasan
could not defy Zimbabwe, who kept their nerves to clinch a 17-run win in the first T20I and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The win was fashioned by fifties from Wessly Madhevere
and Sikandar Raza
, followed by some efficient death bowling by Richard Ngarava
and Luke Jongwe
. This is Zimbabwe's sixth successive T20I win, their best streak in the format.
Chasing 206, Bangladesh were never really in the chase until Nurul started hitting sixes in the last few overs, but an already struggling side looked out of their depth all through.
This is the second time in the space of six T20Is that Zimbabwe have breached the 200-run mark. It is also the first time in eight years that Zimbabwe have taken a 1-0 lead in a bilateral series against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh still had an outside chance in the last two overs when they needed 32 runs, but Ngarava and Jongwe did just about enough to close out the win.
Ngarava nails his wide yorkers
As often happens in T20s, the match came down to a critical penultimate over. Ngarava, drafted into this squad to make up for an injury-hit
pace bowling attack, more than made up for the absentees Tendai Chatara
and Blessing Muzarabani
. He conceded just four runs in the 19th over, kept the rampant Nurul quiet and picked up a wicket for good measure to leave Bangladesh needing 28 runs in the last over.
Nurul had struck three sixes until that point, including two off Wellington Masakadza in the 15th over. He then struck Jongwe over long-on, but Ngarava bowled his wide yorkers very well, not allowing any room to Nurul and Mosaddek Hossain. Nurul collected a four - off a leg bye - and a six in the last over after a dot ball, but Tanaka Chivanga
came back superbly to shut down the visitors with three consecutive dot balls.
Williams helps Zimbabwe pick up pace
After Zimbabwe opted to bat, they cruised to 80 for 2 in 11 overs before Sean Williams
laid into Nasum Ahmed. He struck the left-arm spinner for two fours and a six in the 18-run 12th over to give some impetus to the innings. He went after Nasum's down the leg-side deliveries and dispatched them over deep square leg, steered one fine with a paddle sweep, and pulled one to the long-leg boundary.
The boundaries propelled Zimbabwe after their powerplay of 43 for 1 in which they struck only four fours. Williams exited shortly afterwards, bottom-edging a Mustafizur Rahman
slower ball onto his stumps for 33 off 19 balls.
Raza raises the roof
Zimbabwe scored 91 runs in the last six overs of their innings, thanks mainly to Raza who was in a punishing mood for his unbeaten 65 off 26. The first of Raza's four sixes was a pull off Taskin Ahmed in the 15th over, before he struck Shoriful Islam for two more in the 19th over and one off Mustafizur in the last over.
Raza also struck two straight fours, and a beautiful cover drive to finish the innings. Madhevere supported Raza very well despite appearing to suffer from a hamstring pull. Before he was joined by Raza, he was more focused on using the pace of the ball to hit boundaries behind square. His innings was cut short in the last over when he had to retire hurt for 67.
Litton exits in confusion
After giving Bangladesh their best powerplay score - 60 for 1 - in nearly four years, Litton attempted a scoop against Wiliams in the seventh over. Ngarava, at short fine leg, dropped a sitter in haste to celebrate the big wicket but made up for it by quickly throwing the ball to the bowler, who ran back to break the stumps at the non-striker's end, where Litton was well short. Litton did not even try to make it to the crease as he took a bit of time to realise the catch had been shelled. The on-field umpire, who seemed confused with the proceedings, asked Litton to wait and signalled for the TV umpire, signalling not out as the soft signal. This added to the confusion, but the TV umpire adjudged that Litton was actually run out.
In a slightly similar incident
four years ago, Law 27.7 of the ICC handbook (now 31.7) had to be invoked, but in that case, Hardik Pandya was caught in the first instance. Here, Litton was dropped, and then run out. The 31.7 law states that "an umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batsman, not having been given out, has left the wicket under a misapprehension of being out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal Dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batsman".
Zimbabwe win the middle overs too
Bangladesh never quite got a big partnership going after Litton fell for 32. Anamul Haque got out the ball after hitting his second six in the tenth over, while Afif Hossain pulled a half-tracker down deep midwicket's throat in the 13th. Najmul Hossain Shanto, a surprise inclusion in the T20I squad, struck a six and three fours in his 25-ball 37 but he was unable to cope with the rising asking rate and was caught behind in the 16th over. It was left to the new captain Nurul, who, eventually, couldn't quite get Bangladesh to the target.