Sports desk, September 19: Mahmudullah Riyad smashed an incredible 41 ball-62 while pacer Shafiul Islam marked his return to T20 cricket after two years with career best 3-36 as Bangladesh confirmed the Tri-nation T20 series final with a facile 39-run victory over Zimbabwe at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Wednesday.Zimbabwe’s third straight defeats meant they were eliminated from the tournament, paving the way of Bangladesh-Afghanistan final on September 24 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
Afghanistan who won their first two matches, will start their Chattogram-leg match by taking on Zimbabwe on Friday.
Mahmudullah’s firework helped Bangladesh compile 175-7, their highest against Zimbabwe in this format, surpassing 168-7 Bulawayo in 2013. The target was too much to handle for an insipid Zimbabwe who were shot out for 136 in 20 overs to hand Bangladesh second victory in three matches.
For the first time in the series, Bangladesh didn’t lose any wicket before crossing 40 runs mark. In fact the new opening pair, Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto, one of the T20 debutants with Aminul Islam Biplob, combined for 49 runs in just 4.5 overs to give the side a solid platform.
But as has been the case, Bangladesh lost wickets in cluster when one wicket was fallen.
The partnership was broken with the dismissal of Shanto who made 11, on his debut while Liton Das, who was at his aggressive best, clattering 38 off 22 with four fours and two sixes, followed Shanto just one over later, leaving Bangladesh at 55-2.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan continues his poor tournament, being dismissed on 10 before Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad brought the side back in contention, sharing 78 runs for the fourth wicket.
As it looked Mushfiqur would count his start, he once again squandered his good work by playing a sweep shot after hitting 32 off 26.
Mahmudullah was unstoppable as he guided the lower order to propel Bangladesh to a position where they desired to reach. Mahmudullah struck one four and five sixes, all of which came through by clean shot to blast his 62 off 41, his fourth fifty plus knock in this format.
He was dismissed at the last over by a full toss delivery of Kyle Jervis but before then Bangladesh was in good position.
Jervis claimed 3-32 in his four overs while Christopher Mpofu took 2-42.
Bangladesh however shattered any hopes of Zimbabwe to at least give them a scare when they reduced the visitors to 8-3 with Saifuddin beginning the rot, claiming Brendan Taylor for 0 in the fifth ball of the innings.
Shakib Al Hasan and Shafiul Islam sliced out the top order before a brief resistance by skipper Hamilton Masakadza and Tinotenda Mutumbodzi saw Zimbabwe sharing 27 runs.
Leg-spinner Aminul Islam Biplob broke the partnership, by taking out Mutumbodzi for 11 for his maiden wicket before getting the prized scalp of Masakadza who made run-a-ball-25.
At the other hand, Shafiul kept the things tight to make the Zimbabwe batsmen life hell and reduced them to 44-6 in 9 overs. The match was finished here indeed but Richmond Mutumbami with 32 ball-54 just reduced the margin.
Apart from Shafiul Islam’s 3-36, debutant Aminul Islam Biplob claimed 2-18. Mustafizur Rahman also grabbed 2-38 after grabbing two wickets in last over before reaching 50-wicket mark in T20 cricket for Bangladesh after Shakib Al Hasan.