Bangladesh have slumped to a 17-run defeat in their chase of a massive target of 206 against Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 in Harare.
Opting to bat first, Zimbabwe posted a huge 205 for three thanks to blistering fifties from Sikandar Raza and Wessly Madhevere at the Harare Sporting Club on Saturday.
In reply, the Tigers, who fielded a comparatively inexperienced side with a new captain, put up a valiant effort with the bat to reach 188 for six with skipper Nurul Hasan Sohan remaining unbeaten on 42 off 26 balls.
Litton Das (32 off 19 deliveries) set off with poise on a track that offered little for the bowling side. He stitched up 58 runs with Anamul Haque (26) for the second wicket.
After Litton ran himself out, Najmul Hossain Shanto (37 off 25 balls) dug deep at one end but lost two partners at the other as Anamul and Afif Hossain (10) perished with the team still 100 runs away from the coast and 45 balls remaining.
Walking in at six, Sohan went on the offensive right away and clubbed four sixes. After Luke Jongwe (2 for 34) had Shanto dismissed top edging back a short delivery, Sohan boiled the chase down to needing 32 in the last two overs with Mosaddek Hossain (13).
Seamer Richard Ngarava, who had conceded 39 in three overs earlier, bowled a gem of a penultimate over that all but ended the game. Bangladesh could manage just four runs at the expense of Mosaddek’s wicket and needed 28 off the last six balls..
Earlier, the hosts were on the attack from the outset and took advantage of some wayward bowling by the Bangladeshi seamers early.
Raza, who smashed an unbeaten 65 off only 26 deliveries, and Madhevere (67 off 46 balls) forged a blazing 43-ball 91-run stand for the fourth wicket before the latter retired hurt in the last over of the innings.
The pair clubbed 16 boundaries between them while Raza, adjudged Man-of-the-Match, also bludgeoned four sixes.
The duo had a launching pad provided by Madhevere’s preceding partnership with Sean Williams (33 off 19 balls) as they made 56 off 37 balls for the third wicket.
Bangladesh bowlers failed to make any meaningful dent in the Eagles’ assault. Mustafizur Rahman gave away 50 runs for two wickets while Mosaddek chipped in with one wicket for 21 runs.
Taskin Ahmed, in particular, was wayward early on, conceding five wides and ultimately going wicketless for 42 runs in his four-over quota.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Sohan stood captain in his first match after being handed the duty for the T20s in the series.
Trailing 0-1 in the three-match T20 series of the white-ball tour, Bangladesh will take on Zimbabwe in the next match on Sunday.