Soumya, Shamim guide Tigers to series win
Bangladesh have won the third and final T20I by five wickets to clinch the three-match T20I series at Harare today. Soumya Sarkar's 68 off 49 deliveries, laced with nine fours and a six provided the platform to chase down Zimbabwe's 193 for 5 before Shamim Hossain laid the finishing touch as Bangladesh won with four deliveries and five wickets to spare.
The Tigers lost opener Mohammad Naim 3 off 7) early after the left-hander tried to hit Muzarabani over mid off but managed to slice the angled delivery to man at mid off. Soumya Sarkar was looking to find his feet but managed to keep up to the task during his initial 30 deliveries faced. Shakib Al Hasan was the one trying to accelerate and two sixes off Luke Jongwe in the eighth over saw Bangladesh get back into the flow of things. However, Shakib mistimed one in the same Jongwe over to depart for a 13-ball 25.
After Shakib's departure, Soumya accelerated with Mahmudullah Riyad providing a steady hand at the other end. The duo put on 63 runs off 35 deliveries before Soumya departed following his career-best T20 score, holed out at long off as he tried to go big against Jongwe in the 14th over with Bangladesh at 140 for 3.
Afif showed promise with a first-ball six but his innings lasted only five deliveries as he was bowled by Wellington Masakadza. Needing 40 off the last four overs, Shamim Hossain hit Blessing Muzarabani for four in the 17th over before hitting the last three deliveries of the 18th over from Dion Myers for four to bring the equation under control. Mahmudullah departed, nicking a Muzarabani delivery in the 19th over after a 28-ball 34 but Shamim saw it through to the end with an unbeaten 31 off 15 deliveries, hitting six fours as Bangladesh won the match and the series 2-1.
Earlier, Soumya was the protagonist with the ball as well as his two wickets in the 12th over -- removing the dangerous Regis Chakabva (48 off 22) and Zimbabwe skipper Sikandar Raza (0) -- dented Zimbabwe's chances of putting up an even bigger score after a great start. Opener Wessley Madhevere looked in fantastic touch during a 36-ball 54, laced with six fours but after he departed to Shakib, Ryan Burl's 15-ball 31 powered Zimbabwe to 193 for five. Taskin Ahmed, who was hit for five fours on the trot by Madhevere and did not bowl again after his first two overs, finished with zero wickets for 28 runs. Mohammad Saifuddin bagged a wicket but remained on the expensive side, conceding 50 runs in four overs. Nasum Ahmed too went for 37 runs in three overs. Soumya remained the pick of the bowlers with two wickets for 19 runs in three overs while Shakib and Shoriful Islam bagged one wicket each.