Soumya Sarkar guides B'desh to win in series decider vs Zimbabwe

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Harare, July 26 (IANS) Soumya Sarkar returned figures of 2/19 with the ball before scoring a career-best 68 as Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets to take the T20 International series 2-1 at the Harare Sports Club.

Opting to bat first on Sunday night, Zimbabwe scored 193 for 5 in the allotted 20 overs, but thanks to Sarkar’s career-best 68 the visitors won the match with four balls to spare.

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Zimbabwe were off to a flying start with openers Tadiwanashe Marumani and Wessley Madhevere taking the attack to the bowlers. Madhevere in particular showed great intent and smashed Taskin Ahmed for five consecutive fours in the fourth over of the innings.

The home side finished the powerplay at 63/1, with Mohammad Saifuddin claiming the wicket of Marumani on the last ball of the sixth over.

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Regis Chakabva joined Madhevere at the crease and ensured the scoring rate did not drop after the fielding restrictions as they raced to 101 at the end of 10 overs. It took a two-player catch off Sarkar on the boundary to bring Chakabva’s 22-ball 48 blitzkrieg to an end.

In the same over, Sarkar removed Sikander Raza for a duck, his second of the series, as the stand-in skipper’s poor form continued. Madhevere kept going despite losing partners at the other end and brought up his fifty with a four in just 31 balls. However, his innings too soon came to an end as he top-edged a reverse sweep to the third man off Shakib Al Hasan.

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Bangladesh’s chase of 194 got off to a bad start as they lost Mohammad Naim in the third over. Shakib and Sarkar kept the scoreboard ticking but didn’t really get going in the powerplay, finishing at 50/1 after six overs.

With the asking rate over 10.5 and climbing, Shakib hit Luke Jongwe for two consecutive sixes in the eighth over but holed out in the deep trying to clear the fielder at long off.

Still needing 124 off 74 balls at that point, the visitors couldn’t afford to slow down and decided to take the attack to the opposition. Sarkar soon brought up his half-century and kept hitting crucial boundaries in the company of skipper Mahmudullah, who himself was striking at a rate of over 150 at that point.

Needing just 13 in the last two overs, Bangladesh completed their second-highest chase in T20Is with four balls to spare, despite losing Mahmudullah in the 19th over, with Shamim Hossain hitting the winning runs as he remained unbeaten on 31 off just 15 balls.

Brief scores: Zimbabwe 193/5 in 20 overs (Wessley Madhevere 54, Regis Chakabva 48; Soumya Sarkar 2/19) lost to Bangladesh 194/5 in 19.2 overs (Soumya Sarkar 68, Mahmudullah 34; Luke Jongwe 2/42).

–IANS

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