Bowlers complimented an improved batting performance to help Bangladesh crush Zimbabwe by 39 runs and secure a place in the final of the tri-nation Twenty20 tournament in Chattogram on Wednesday.
Mahmudullah top-scored with 62 off 41 balls, guiding Bangladesh to 175-7, their highest total against Zimbabwe in Twenty20 format before Shafiul Islam and debutant leg-spinner Aminul Islam shared five wickets between them bowl out Zimbabwe for 136 runs in 20 overs.
This was Zimbabwe’s third consecutive defeat in the tournament, which took them out of contention for September 24 final, where Bangladesh will now join Afghanistan – the third team in the tournament.
The game ended as a contest after Bangladesh, buoyed on by their record score, reduced Zimbabwe to 8-3 inside four overs.
The visiting side was soon slumped to 66-7 in the 13th over, a position from where they could never recover despite late sparks by Richmond Mutumbami and Kyle Jarvis.
Mutumbami hit 54 off 32 balls, his maiden Twenty20 international fifty, which four fours and three sixes.
Jarvis also made 27 off 20 balls but they could not put Bangladesh under any kind of pressure thanks to their early strikes.
Shafiul claimed highest 3-36 runs playing his first Twenty20 international in nearly two years while rookie leg-spinner Aminul claimed two wickets giving away just 18 runs in his four overs.
Mustafizur Rahman struck twice in the final over of the innings to finish with 2-38, which made him only Bangladesh’s second bowler after Sakib al Hasan to take 50 wickets in Twenty20 format.
Mahmudullah earlier led the batting charge for Bangladesh hitting five sixes and a four for his fourth Twenty20 international fifty that gave Bangladesh the base for their strong total.
Sent into bat first, Bangladesh made a positive start thanks to opener Liton Das, who made 38 off 22 balls and put 49 runs in the opening stand with debutant Nazmul Hossain.
But Liton dismissal to Chris Mpofu with stunning catch of Neville Madziva at short third man brought a sense of déjà vu as Bangladesh soon collapsed to 65-3 as Sakib also followed Liton after making 10.
Mahmudullah, who hit a six off the first ball he faced, added 78 runs with Mushfiqur Rahim to put Bangladesh back in control, raising the hope for a total close to 200 runs.
But Zimbabwe did well with ball late after Mutumbami dismissed Mushfiq for 32, restricting Bangladesh to just 41 runs in the last five overs.
Jarvis, who claimed 3-32, removed Mahmudullah and Mosaddek Hossain (two) in consecutive deliveries in the final over to create a chance of a hat-trick but Mohammad Saifuddin hit six runs off final two balls to give Bangladesh a strong total finally.
Zimbabwe will face Afghanistan in the next match of the tournament on Friday.
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