Raza heroics in vain as Bangladesh level series
Zimbabwe – 135-8 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 62, Ryan Burl 32, Luke Jongwe 11; Mosaddek Hossain 5/20, Hasan Mahmud 1/26, Mustafizur Rahman 1/30)
Bangladesh – 136-3 in 17.3 overs (Litton Das 56, Afif Hossain 30*, Najmul Hossain Shanto 19*; Sean Williams 1/13, Sikandar Raza 1/18, Richard Ngarava 1/23)
Bangladesh won by seven wickets
Sikandar Raza scored another superb fifty for Zimbabwe in the second Twenty20 international against Bangladesh at Harare Sports Club on Sunday, but he could not do enough to make up for his team’s poor start to the game, which the tourists eventually won by seven wickets to level the three-match series.
The match-winning performance for Bangladesh came from Mosaddek Hossain, who took a remarkable five wickets for only 20 runs in his four overs.
Zimbabwe won the toss and took their usual course of batting first, but made a disastrous start to their innings.
The off-spinner Mosaddek bowled the first over – he pitched his first ball outside the off stump and Regis Chakabva, aiming a big drive at it, edged it to the wicket-keeper, Nurul Hasan.
Wessly Madhevere, coming in next, swept a boundary, but off the final delivery he chased a wide ball and slashed a catch straight to the cover fielder, leaving Zimbabwe at five for two after the first over.
Then in Mosaddek’s next over Craig Ervine tried a reverse sweep, only to have the ball bounce off his glove to give a catch at slip.
Zimbabwe were now reeling at six for three wickets, with Raza and Sean Williams now together.
Williams hit a couple of boundaries, but Mosaddek picked up his fourth wicket as Williams drove the ball straight back and the bowler held a sharp return catch above his head – 20 for four in the fifth over.
A fifth wicket for Mosaddek soon followed, as Milton Shumba (3) miscued a sweep to backward square leg to be caught, making the score 31 for five wickets.
Mosaddek thus completed his spell with the remarkable figures of five wickets for 20 runs in his four overs, leaving the Zimbabwe batting in complete disarray, except that Raza was still there.
Ryan Burl provided some stability at the other end, but after 10 overs the score was only 46 for five wickets.
After the 12th over, at 55 for five, the pair stepped up the attack, and Raza reached one of his finest fifties off 44 balls, in very different circumstances from most of his other innings.
At the end of the 17th over Raza swung a six over midwicket off Shoriful Islam to bring up the team 100, of which he had now scored 59.
In the following over, however, he lost Burl, bowled swinging across a straight ball from Hasan Mahmud for a most invaluable fighting innings of 32, scored off 31 balls.
One over later, Raza’s magnificent innings came to an end, as he tried to drive Mustafizur Rahman for six over cover, only to sky a catch, having made 62 off 53 balls, with two sixes and four fours.
In the final over, Wellington Masakadza was run out for six as the batters tried to steal a single, but Luke Jongwe hit a fine six over the covers.
The total finished at 135 for eight, with Jongwe 11 not out.
It was a good recovery after such a disastrous start to the innings, but one that would not be easy to defend.
Bangladesh soon had their reply well under way, with Tanaka Chivanga bowling much too short to Litton Das, who hit him for six, four and six off successive deliveries.
His opening partner, Munim Shahriar, did not have it so good, though, as he tried to flick a straight ball from Richard Ngarava through the leg side and was bowled for seven – 37 for one in the fifth over.
It took Litton just 30 balls to reach his fifty.
At 78, though, and with his own score on 56, he missed a sweep against Williams and was adjudged lbw after a dynamic innings – he faced only 33 balls and hit two sixes and six fours.
In the following over, Zimbabwe struck again, as Anamul Haque (16) tried to swing a ball from Raza over the midwicket boundary, but got a top edge to be caught by Masakadza – 81 for three in the 10th over.
But the result of the match was never in doubt, and the fourth-wicket pair of Afif Hossain (30 not out) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (19 not out) saw Bangladesh safely home by seven wickets and with 15 balls to spare.
This defeat brought to an end Zimbabwe’s run of six successive victories in this format.
The deciding match in the series will take place at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.