Battling Zimbabwe fall short as Bangladesh win in chaotic final-over finish

Mosaddek keeps his cool at the close even as error from wicketkeeper Nurul gave Zimbabwe a free hit off the final ball

Bangladesh 150 for 7 (Shanto 71, Afif 29, Muzarabani 2-13, Ngarava 2-24) beat Zimbabwe 147 for 8 (Williams 64, Burl 27*, Taskin 3-19, Mustafizur 2-19, Mosaddek 2-34) by three runs

Mosaddek Hossain held his nerve, twice in the space of one legal delivery in a chaotic finish, for Bangladesh to earn a three-run win against Zimbabwe, whose semi-final hopes have now been dented.

Zimbabwe needed 16 from the final over, and after Mosaddek got rid of Brad Evans, Richard Ngarava got a leg-bye four and slammed a huge six over fine-leg to give them a chance. With five required in two balls, Mosaddek had a charging Ngarava stumped, bringing Blessing Muzarabani to middle, and he had to hit the ball to the boundary. But Mosaddek beat his big swing and he was stumped off the last ball.

Or so everyone thought. But wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan had collected the ball in front of the stumps, which became a no-ball, and a free hit.

The players had left the ground, the broadcasters had started setting up for the presentation ceremony, but they had to go out and the players had to come back for one more tilt. But Muzarabani missed the last-last ball too, and the show was over.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan’s gamble of using his fast bowlers – Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman and Hasan Mahmud – in the 16th, 17th and 18th overs paid off, only just. They combined to concede 30 runs, Shakib himself bowled well in the penultimate over, giving away ten runs and pulling off a sensational run-out, of top-scorer Sean Williams, and Mosaddek had just about enough to defend. He did well, keeping Ryan Burl off strike completely. Though Burl might rue not being a bit more aggressive earlier, his unbeaten 27 off 25 balls a somewhat dour effort in the circumstances.

In the first half, too, Zimbabwe fell short. Muzarabani bowled just two overs and picked up two wickets, and the catching was poor.

Najmul Hossain Shanto took advantage with his maiden T20I fifty, and his first T20 half-century in 25 innings. His 71 got Bangladesh to a fighting 150 for 7 before Taskin and Mustafizur blew away Zimbabwe’s top order in the powerplay.

Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman picked up two wickets each in the powerplayGetty Images

Taskin, Mustafizur have a ball
Taskin gave Bangladesh early breakthroughs for the third game in a row. Wessly Madhevere played a poor shot to a wide short ball, and was caught at deep third by Mustafizur, who nearly spilled the chance with a reverse cup around his chest. In his next over, Taskin tested Craig Ervine with a slightly wide one again, with the Zimbabwe captain nicked to Nurul.

Mustafizur, under fire before the tournament, then gave Bangladesh further cause for joy. In his first over – the last one in the powerplay – he had Milton Shumba caught at mid-off, where Shakib took a sharp catch. The bigger blow came three balls later when Sikandar Raza, the big man for Zimbabwe, top-edged a pull. Afif Hossain took the catch, and the celebrations proved how big the moment was for Bangladesh. Zimbabwe were 35 for 4 in the powerplay and very much on the back foot.

Sean Williams led the Zimbabwe charge, and had a decent partner in Ryan BurlICC via Getty

Williams takes it deep
After Raza’s dismissal, it was down to the three frontline batters left – Williams, Regis Chakabva and Burl – with Williams the main man.

Williams kept things ticking over in his own way, nurdling, pushing and prodding the ball around for ones and twos. He added 34 runs for the fifth wicket with Chakabva, who made 15 off 19 balls. After the returning Taskin removed Chakabva, Bangladesh had an immediate chance when Burl top-edged to deep fine-leg, but Mahmud dropped the sitter. Burl was on four, and the ball went over for his first six.

Zimbabwe, however, couldn’t quite get the acceleration going, and that hurt them in the end. As did their mistakes in the first half.

Blessing Muzarabani picked up both the Bangladesh wickets to fall in the powerplayGetty Images

Muzarabani hurts Bangladesh
Zimbabwe’s tall fast bowlers were always going to be a handful for Bangladesh, especially with the new ball in operation. Muzarabani got cracking in the second over, when he had Soumya Sarkar caught behind for a duck. The delivery wasn’t high pace, but the full length and wide line beat Soumya.

Litton Das fell next when he played an uncharacteristic scoop shot against Muzarabani, who continued to bowl within himself, without trying to crank up the pace. Tendai Chatara took the simple chance at short fine-leg, as Bangladesh finished the powerplay on 32 for 2, their lowest ever against Zimbabwe.

Najmul Hossain Shanto played his part in keeping the innings goingICC via Getty

Shanto hits back
Shanto, however, fought back with Shakib, adding 56 runs for the third wicket together. Shanto struck five of his seven fours behind the wickets, usually using the pace of the ball sensibly. He hit a good reverse sweep, too, apart from a nicely timed cut shot. And the best of them, down on one knee, and drive to the right of mid-off for four.

Shakib fell to a poor shot again, caught at midwicket off Williams for 23 off 20 balls, and hit just one boundary in his innings. Nevertheless, Shanto got to his fifty and then took 17 off Evans in the 16th over, including only the second six of his T20I career, and the first of the Bangladesh innings.

Zimbabwe fall apart on the field
Zimbabwe’s fielding went steadily downhill after the powerplay overs, particularly towards the back end of the Bangladesh innings. There were a few misfields and missed catches, which was frustrating for the bowlers, and the coaching staff. But Bangladesh didn’t quite take toll of these opportunities, or step on the pedal.

After the 17-run 16th over, they only had one more over where runs came in double-figures, when Afif dominated the 19th over, bowled by Raza.

Afif was dropped twice in his innings of 29, first by Evans at midwicket, when his reverse-cup attempt was ill-advised, and Williams dropped him in the last over, although the ensuing throw resulted in Nurul’s run-out. Bangladesh made 47 runs in the last five overs, with Mosaddek hardly timing anything while Yasir Ali looked surplus to requirement coming in at No. 8.

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