Carried by 19-year old Afif Hossain, Bangladesh have beaten Zimbabwe by three wickets in their opening game of "OBHAI T20 Tri-nation series".
Batting first in the curtailed-over match, Zimbabwe scored 144-5 in their allotted 18 overs. In reply, Bangladesh were in deep waters at 60-6. But then, Afif put on a masterclass as he scored a blistering 52 off just 26 deliveries, to take Bangladesh home and also, he took home the Man of the Match trophy.
On a rain-trodden day, the match was expected to be delayed and it was. The match had to be reduced to 18 overs per side and when the toss finally happened, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan opted to bowl first.
The Tigers had a good start to the game as debutant Taijul Islam sent back Brendan Taylor with his very first delivery in T20Is. But Zimbabwean skipper Hamilton Masakadza put up a 44-run stand with Craig Ervine, as the former wreaked havoc.
Masakadza took 18 runs of Taijul's third over before Ervine was caught at the boundary off Mustafizur Rahman.
In the very next over, Zimbabwe lost their skipper to Saifuddin as Sabbir Rahman took a good diving catch at mid-off.
Wickets began to crumble as Sean Williams gave an easy catch to Mosaddek off his own delivery before Timycen Maruma was run out in the next over.
But Ryan Burl and Tinotenda Mutombodzi solidified their position at the crease and accelerated in the later overs. Burl unleashed himself on Shakib in the 16th over as the Bangladesh skipper went for 30.
Burl scored his fifty off 28 deliveries, and their 81-run stand took Zimbabwe to 144. Burl and Muombodzi were unbeaten on 57 and 27 runs respectively.
Shakib, Mustafiz, Saifuddin, and Mosaddek picked up a wicket each.
In reply, Bangladesh did well for the first couple of overs. But within five deliveries Bangladesh lost three wickets as Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim all went back to the pavilion.
Bangladesh were pushed further into trouble as Shakib Al Hasan was sent back by Tendai Chatara.
Mahmudullah put up a brief 27-run stand with Sabbir Rahman, during which Sabbir was dropped on 11. But Mahmudullah departed as he was trapped LBW by Ryan Burl. He took the review, but hawk-eye suggested the ball was clipping leg stump and the veteran batsman had to go.
Very soon, Sabbir was caught outstandingly by Ryan Burl at the mid-wicket boundary as Bangladesh were reduced to 60-6 and Afif Hossain walked into the pitch.
Along with Mosaddek Hossain, Afif put up an 82-run stand off 47 balls to take Bangladesh on the verge of victory before he was caught by Masakadza on 52 off 26 deliveries.
Saifuddin used a couple of deliveries to close down the chase and he put the finishing touch by hitting a boundary through mid-wicket. Mosaddek Hossain was unbeaten on 30, as Saifuddin finished on six.
Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara and Neville Madziva picked up a couple of wickets each as Ryan Burl picked up the other.