BY KEVIN MAPASURE
Zimbabwe 205 for 3 (Madhevere 67 retd hurt, Raza 65*, Mustafizur 2-50) beat Bangladesh 188 for 6 (Nurul 42*, Shanto 37, Jongwe 2-34) by 17 runs
THE Zimbabwe national cricket team held their nerves to clinch a thrilling 17-run win over touring Bangladesh in their first of three T-20 internationals at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Zimbabwe has now won six T-20 matches on the trot after their perfect record in the International Cricket Council T-20 World Cup qualifiers.
A carnival crowd was treated to high entertainment cricket in both innings as Bangladesh fought hard in pursuit of a daunting total that had been set by the hosts.
Wessley Madhevere scored a half century before he retired hurt to anchor Zimbabwe’s innings after captain Craig Ervine had won the toss.
But it was Sikandar Raza who drove the hosts to 205 runs from 20 overs, hitting a brisk 65 from just 26 balls.
Bangladesh managed 188 for 6 in 20 overs with Nurul Hasan hitting 42 while there were good contributions from the other batsmen getting into double figures.
Man of the match, Raza hit seven boundaries and heaved four maximums in his 101 run collaboration with Madhevere, who scored 67 runs from 46 balls.
When he came in, Zimbabwe had lost Sean Williams (33 off 19 balls) with the score at 99 for 3 after 12.2 overs and at that point the hosts needed to ramp up the run rate and it proved that Raza was the right man at the right moment.
He didn’t take time to settle in and in no time he was giving the Bangladesh attack all sorts of problems while the fans vacated their seats dancing to Raza’s tune.
Mustafizur Rahman took two wickets for his team, but was very expensive as he shipped 50 runs with Raza and Madhevere in particular milking him.
Mosaddek Hossain took the other wicket for Bangladesh ending with 1 for 21 in three overs, while the rest of the Bangladesh bowlers toiled throughout the home side’s innings.
Having set such a huge score, to some the outcome was forgone, yet Bangladesh still made a match of it as they fought with everything in their tank.
With two overs left they needed 32 runs and with skipper Hasan at the crease anything was possible. He had hit three sixes prior to that, so it was a nail bitter.
Once the required runs were down to 28 in the last overs the fans were already in celebratory mood, yet another maximum by Hasan reminded them that the game could still be stolen from Zimbabwe’s grasp.
But Luke Jongwe (2 for 34) bowled a disciplined over and conceded 11 runs, which was enough to see Zimbabwe take a lead in the series.
Richard Ngarava, Wellington Masakadza and Raza all shared the other three wickets equally helping Zimbabwe keep Bangladesh in check.
They will be hoping for kmore of the same when the two teams square off at lunch time today at the same venue.
Zimbabwe; Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Wessley Madhevere, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Milton Shumba, Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza, Tanaka Chivanga, Richard Ngarava
Bangladesh; Nurul Hasan, Litton Das, Anamul Bijoy, Najmul Shanto, Musaddek Hossain, Afif Hosain, Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Munim Shahriar