Opener Wesley Madhevere top-scored with 73 as Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by 23 runs on Friday to keep alive hopes of winning the three-match Twenty20 series. Zimbabwe made 166-6 before bowling Bangladesh out for 143 with one ball remaining in Harare, enabling the hosts to avenge an eight-wicket defeat in the first match on Thursday. It was the first victory for the home side in six attempts in the all-format tour after a heavy Test loss, three one-day international defeats and a T20 reverse.
The T20 series decider will be played on Sunday at Harare Sports Club.
“Today we managed to tick a lot more boxes than we managed yesterday. I was happy to make 166 with a young squad — it gave us confidence,” said Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza.
“We back ourselves to defend that total and Blessing (Muzarabani) was instrumental in our success. Now we must create a plan that brings us another victory on Sunday and a series victory.”
Zimbabwe won the toss, batted and Madhevere hit three sixes and five fours off 57 balls before being caught at extra cover by Afif Hossain after skying a delivery from left-arm medium-fast bowler Shoriful Islam.
Player of the match Madhevere said: “Everyone in the change room gave me positive ideas. The wicket was on the slower side, but credit to the Bangladesh bowlers, who did well.”
Ryan Burl, who came in at number six, was the best of the other Zimbabwe batsman with an undefeated 34, including two sixes and two fours.
Dion Myers made 26 before lofting an attempted ramp off Shoriful to Mahedi Hasan on the deep point boundary.
Shoriful was the most successful of the Bangladesh bowlers, also capturing the wicket of Luke Jongwe to finish with 3-33.
Unlike Thursday when Bangladesh openers Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar put on 102 runs before the first wicket fell, the tourists never got on top of the Zimbabwe bowling.
Naim and Sarkar were back in the pavilion with just 17 on the board, both dismissed by Muzarabani, who finished with 2-21 from his four overs.
Wellington Masakadza, who took 3-20, also got in among the Bangladesh batsmen, removing Shakib al Hasan, captain Mahmudullah Riyad and Mahedi in quick succession.
Nurul Hasan also fell cheaply and at 68-6 after 11.2 overs, Bangladesh were in deep trouble.
Afif and debutant Shamim Hossain, the top Bangladesh scorer with 29, temporarily halted the slide with a 41-run seven-wicket stand before Shamim departed and Zimbabwe closed out a welcome win.
Mahmudullah was critical of the fielding, saying “We missed a few chances in the field and that is why they had big partnerships and got to a big total.
“We need to look into those areas and come back stronger. Shoriful has been bowling really well. All the bowlers have been trying really hard.”
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