Bangladesh needed a win in T20Is to regain their confidence in this format. Whoever the opponent was, did not matter. They needed to dominate to have their self-trust back after they had lost four consecutive T20I matches.
And they have. It was no surprise that they would win against Zimbabwe, especially after the Tigers had dominated the visitors in the solitary Test and three-match ODI series. But T20I is a whole different format and surely, not one of Bangladesh's strength.
But still, the difference in the rankings showed on the field as Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 48 runs to go 1-0 up in the series.
Their hero of the match was Soumya Sarkar, who scored a blistering unbeaten 62 off 32 deliveries, hitting four fours and five sixes. Soumya, who was excluded from the Bangladesh Cricket Board's (BCB) central contract on Sunday, right before the match. BCB's chief selector Minhajul Abedin, later on, said that it was an honest mistake and Soumya was indeed included among the players who were being handed a white-ball contract. And Soumya showed in the match, why he had to be included.
Along with Soumya, Liton Das picked up his batting right from where he left it. He had scored a record-breaking 176 in the third ODI and brought up his first T20I fifty against Zimbabwe and his third overall, before getting out on 59.
And in reply, Zimbabwe crumbled from the moment go. They lost wickets and had no partnership at all. And with no batsmen going past their 20s, they were bowled out for 152 and succumbed to a big defeat.
It was a surprise choice from Zimbabwe skipper Sean Williams to field first after winning the toss. In the ODIs, Bangladeshi batsmen, especially Tamim Iqbal and Liton had brutally punished the visitors' bowlers while batting first. But still, Williams opted to chase and nothing different happened.
Tamim struggled a bit at the start but Liton continued from right where he left in the third ODI. He creamed the deliveries to and over the boundary rope, and within the sixth over, the opening stand crossed the fifty-mark. And when Tamim was dismissed trying to slog youngster Wesley Madhevere, these two had put up Bangladesh's record opening stand in T20Is. The previous record was of 74 runs, that too between these two, in 2018. And this time they had put 92 runs, achieving another milestone.
Liton soon picked up his fifty off 31 deliveries but did not last long after he did. He was trapped LBW by Raza and reviewed, but all it came to was Bangladesh losing their review.
Mushfiqur also went soon, but Soumya put up a brilliant 54-run stand with skipper Mahmudullah Riyad off just 25 deliveries. Especially, Soumya was ruthless.
He picked up his fifty off 30 deliveries and in the last two deliveries of the innings, Soumya hit Chris Mpofu for consecutive sixes to take Bangladesh to 200-3. The first six over long-on was good, but his second six was extraordinary. Mpofu had bowled a short delivery trying to minimize the casualties and Soumya maximized it by thrashing it to the stand over the mid-wicket boundary.
Bangladesh's last five overs resulted into 75 runs and that was mostly courtesy of Soumya's incredible hitting.
Zimbabwe came in to chase but were never in the game. Shafiul Islam drew first blood to dismiss Brendan Taylor in the second over for 1. And that was just the start of their landslide as they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals.
They lost three within the powerplay and continued to do so throughout. The most runs any of their batsmen scored was 28 and that sort of sums up their night.
Soumya dropped an easy catch in the dying moments of the game at long-on, but after what he did with the bat, he might be forgiven.
There was some late hitting from Donald Tiripano and Carl Mumba. But by the time they started, they were well out of the game and their strokes only reduced the deficit.
Mustafizur Rahman put the last nail in Zimbabwe's coffin when he dismissed Carl Mumba for 25 after getting hit for a four and a six. Zimbabwe were bundled out for 152 and this handed Bangladesh a 48-run win and a 1-0 lead in the series.
The sides will face each other in the last match of the tour on Wednesday at the same venue.
Bangladesh: 200-3 (Soumya 62*, Liton 59, Tamim 41, Madhevere 1-15, Raza 1-31, Mpofu 1-58)
Zimbabwe: 152 (Kamunhukamwe 28, Mumba 25, Tiripano 20, Biplob 3-34, Mustafizur 3-32, Afif 1-18)