Despite Malcolm Waller and Graeme Cremer’s performances with bat and ball respectively, Zimbabwe still fell short in the first Twenty20 international against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday.
The hosts bundled Zimbabwe out for 131 runs in 19.3 overs on a docile wicket before easily reaching 136-6 in 17.4 overs to go 1-0 up in the two-match series.
Waller struck 68 runs off 31 balls as Zimbabwe recovered from a disastrous start to get a decent score. Cremer then finished with 3-29, including two wickets in one over, but they were not good enough for the visitors to end their dismal run in the tour.
Bangladesh won the preceding three-match one-day international series 3-0.
Tamim Iqbal scored highest with 31 runs for the hosts while Mahmudullah added an unbeaten 22 to take Bangladesh home. Mashrafe Mortaza, unbeaten on 15, hit Luke Jongwe for a straight to six to end the game with more than two overs to spare.
Mortaza, the Bangladesh skipper, was relieved to win the game. “In Twenty20 cricket first six overs are crucial and we scored 47 runs at that point. Later we should have batted more sensibly.”
Mortaza won the toss and elected to bowl first. The decision bore fruit as he and Al-Amin Hossain struck early to reduce Zimbabwe to 10-3 inside three overs before Sean Williams (15) and Craig Ervine (20) offered some resistance.
Waller joined Ervine after spinner Nasir Hossain bowled Williams to leave Zimbabwe tottering at 38-4. Waller launched an immediate counter attack to take 17 runs off debutant leg-spinner Jubair Hossain’s first over. He then scored 20 off the next over by Nasir and completed his 50 off just 20 balls, Zimbabwe’s quickest in Twenty20 internationals.
Waller, who hit a total of four fours and sixes, was eventually dismissed by Mustafizur Rahman as Liton Das took a catch at deep midwicket. “I just tried to go out there, back my game and free myself up. I was in similar situations in the one day games,” said Waller.
“I sort of got a bit knuckled down and I felt the pressure. Today I told myself that we lost four wickets, back your game and play your shots.”
Mustafizur claimed 2-16 while Mortaza, Al-Amin and Jubair each grabbed two wickets by giving away 20 runs each.
The second match of the series will be held at the same venue on Sunday.