Malcolm Waller scored a blistering 68 off just 31 balls, but could not prevent Bangladesh from winning the first Twenty20 International by four wickets on Friday (November 13) and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Despite Waller’s magnificent effort, Zimbabwe could only put up 131 in 19.3 overs after being asked to field at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Graeme Cremer, the legspinner, then took three wickets to finish with figures of 3 for 29 in four overs, but Bangladesh managed to reach 136 for 6 in 17.4 overs to win with 14 balls remaining.
Waller walked out facing a tough situation, Zimbabwe having been reduced to 38 for 4. He started off the recovery through a 67-run fifth-wicket partnership with Craig Ervine (20). Waller got off the blocks quickly, taking 17 runs off Jubair Hossain, the legspinner, and following it up with 20 runs off Nasir Hossain, the offspinner. Waller completed his 50 off just 20 balls, Zimbabwe’s quickest in T20Is. Mahmudullah then broke the partnership by having Ervine bowled. The duo’s stand had come off just 34 balls and had taken Zimbabwe past the 100-run mark.
That partnership was the only noteworthy one of the innings as Zimbabwe once again lost quick wickets after the stand was broken, losing five wickets for 25 runs. Waller was the eighth man dismissed when he was caught at deep mid wicket off Mustafizur Rahman, the left-arm seamer. He had struck four boundaries and six sixes.
Bangladesh’s bowlers hunted in a pack, with Mashrafe Mortaza, Al-Amin Hossain, Mustafizur, and Jubair picking up two each, while Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah’s off-breaks fetched them a wicket each.
Zimbabwe struck early in reply, when Anamul Haque was run out for 1, with just six runs on the board.
Tamim Iqbal, who top-scored with 31, and Sabbir Rahman (18) then lent some stability through a 39-run second-wicket stand. Once the stand was broken, with Sabbir caught off Tendai Chisoro, Bangladesh lost a few quick wickets. However, it enjoyed brief but useful contributions from Nasir (16), Mahmudullah (22 not out), Liton Das (17) and Mortaza (15 not out).
Mahmudullah shared a crucial 38-run sixth-wicket stand with Das, before Mortaza hit Luke Jongwe for a straight six to seal the game for the home side.
The second match of the series will be held at the same venue on Sunday.