Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad’s brilliant half-century coupled with disciplined bowling in a match against Zimbabwe has propelled his team into the T20 Tri-nation Series final.
Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by 39 runs in the 20-over game at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Wednesday.The Tigers dismissed their opponent for 139 runs after posting 175 for 7 wickets.
Riyad, who scored 62 runs off 41 balls, was adjudged the player of the match.
Debutant young leg-spinner Aminul Islam grabbed the spotlight by picking 2 wickets for 18 runs in his four overs.
Bangladeshi bowlers looked charged up after having a healthy total to defend with Mohammad Saifuddin giving the early breakthrough by removing Brendon Taylor in the fifth ball of the innings.
Shafiul Islam, who picked 3 wickets for 36 runs, marked his return to international cricket by removing Sean Williams with his first delivery after Shakib Al Hasan showed the door to Regis Chakabva by bowling him out through his gate.
The introduction of Aminul was much anticipated considering Bangladesh are desperately looking for a leg spinner as in the present context every Test playing nation are trying to groom one. He did not take long to announce his arrival by removing Tinotenda Mutombodzi with his third delivery while he took the prized wickets of Hamilton Masakadza plumb in-front which helped the hosts declare their total dominance.Mustafizur grabbed 2 wickets that also helped him earn a personal milestone, picking 51 wickets in the T20 format.
Earlier, Mahmudullah hammered an incredible 41 ball-62 runs as Bangladesh raked up a respectable 175 runs for 7 wickets against Zimbabwe which also was Tigers’ highest score against Zimbabwe, surpassing their 168 runs for 7 wickets at Bulawayo in 2013.
For the first time in the series, Bangladesh didn’t lose any wicket before crossing 40-run mark. In fact the new opening pair, Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto, one of them making his debut, posted 49 runs in just 4.5 overs to give the side a solid platform.
But as has been the case, Bangladesh lost wickets in cluster.
The partnership was broken with the dismissal of Shanto who scored 11 runs on his debut while Liton Das, who was at his aggressive best, clattering 38 runs off 22 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes, followed Shanto just one over later, leaving Bangladesh at 55 runs for 2 wickets.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan continued his poor tournament, being dismissed on 10 runs before Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad brought the side back in contention, sharing 78 runs in the fourth wicket partnership.
It looked as if Mushfiqur would make his start count but he once again squandered his good work by playing a sweep shot before scoring 32 runs off 26 balls.
But, Riyad was unstoppable as he guided the lower order to propel Bangladesh to a position where Tigers’ hope to reach since the start of the match. Mahmudullah struck a four and 5 sixes, all of which came through clean hits as he scored 62 runs off 41 balls, his fourth fifty plus knock in this format.
He was dismissed in the last over on a full toss delivery of Kyle Jervis but already Bangladesh were in good position. Jervis claimed 3 wickets for 32 runs in his four overs while Christopher Mpofu took 2 wickets for 42 runs.
Bangladesh earlier brought up three changes to the side that lost the last match to Afghanistan and also handed T20 caps to two players namely top-order batsman Nazmul Hossain Shanto and leg-spinning all-rounder Aminul Islam Biplob.
The other player who made it to the squad is Shafiul Islam who returned to the T20 fold after two years.
To accommodate them, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar and Taijul Islam were shown the door. Soumya however was not in the squad for the third and fourth match of this tournament.