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Tour and tournament reports

Bangladesh T20 tri-nation series, 2019-20

A review of the Bangladesh tri-series with Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, 2019-20

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Afif Hossain flays the ball through cover, Bangladesh v Canada, Under-19 World Cup, Group C, Lincoln, January 15, 2018

Afif Hossain flays the ball through cover  •  International Cricket Council

1= Bangladesh, Afghanistan; 3 Zimbabwe
This Twenty20 tri-series looked intriguing. Despite a disappointing World Cup, Afghanistan were favourites, especially as the tournament followed their stunning victory in a one-off Test at Chittagong, arguably Bangladesh's most embarrassing defeat. Zimbabwe were in disarray at home after their board were suspended by the ICC, while Bangladesh had rarely relished the shortest format. But the hosts did collect most wins in the league stage, and shared the trophy with Afghanistan when the final was washed out.
Bangladesh had made several changes after their Test defeat, but of several rookies only Afif Hossain - a left-hander who turned 20 just before the final - made much impression, with a rapid half-century in the first match.
There were more runs overall for old hands Mahmudullah (126) and Shakib Al Hasan (96), while medium-pacer Mohammad Saifuddin was joint-leading wicket-taker, on seven, with Afghan spinner Mujeeb Zadran. Afghanistan's newcomers had a better time. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, just 17, was voted Player of the Series after three important innings, while the opening attack of Fareed Ahmad and Naveen-ul-Haq looked promising.
There were also important contributions from Mujeeb, Hazratullah Zazai and Najibullah Zadran: Afghanistan's ambitious T20 plans aimed to entrust responsibility to new players, rather than rely on the likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, and were starting to bear fruit.
Zimbabwe struggled in their first international assignment since the ICC suspension (reversed not long after this tour). They were also lacking their influential all-rounder Sikandar Raza, after a separate dispute with the board. And they cited "disciplinary issues raised by the captain", Hamilton Masakadza, who then announced he would retire after the tournament. He had a fitting send-off, when his 71 set up victory over Afghanistan in the last match, and he finished level with Rahmanullah as the leading scorer, with 133. There were also useful knocks from Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva and Richmond Mutumbami, but the bowling was too dependent on Kyle Jarvis.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84