The bowlers played their part after an attacking fifty from Mahmudullah as Bangladesh sealed a 39-run win in their tri-nation series game against Zimbabwe at Chattogram on Thursday.
The victory means the hosts and Afghanistan will play the final on 24 September, as Zimbabwe are knocked out after three losses in as many games, rendering the last game of the group stage between the finalists, to be played on 21 September, nothing but a formality.
Put into bat first, a 62 off 41 balls from Mahmudullah had led Bangladesh to 175 for 7. The batsman, who hit a four and five sixes in his innings, made 78 in a fourth wicket partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim.
That came after Bangladesh had lost three wickets in quick succession following a good start, which was possible thanks to an attacking 22-ball 38 from opener Liton Das who hit four fours and two sixes.
His opening partner Najmul Hossain Shanto made 11 off nine balls on his debut before being the first man out in the fifth over bowled by Kyle Jarvis.
Liton followed him in the next over while captain Shakib Al Hasan (10) also joined them eight balls later.
Mushfiq was out on 32, made in 26 balls with three fours and a six.
Jarvis was the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe, bagging three wickets while Chris Mpofu claimed two.
Chasing 176, Zimbabwe lost opener Brendan Taylor in the very first over, before they could open their account. Soon they were three wickets down on eight and a while later six wickets were gone with the score on 44 and they were all but out of the game.
Richmond Mutumbami was the top-scorer for the losing side with 54 off 32 balls, an innings that made sure they at least go past hundred. Mutumbami’s knock featured four fours and three sixes while Kyle Jarvis added 27 and captain Hamilton Masakadza a run-a-ball 25.
In the end, all that Zimbabwe could manage was 136, losing their final wicket in the last ball of the game.
Shafiul Islam grabbed three wickets for Bangladesh while Mustafizur Rahman and debutant Aminul Islam took two wickets each. The latter conceded just 18 runs in his four overs, showing plenty of promise.
Mahmudullah was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match for his beautiful knock.
Beating an out of form Zimbabwe was probably expected, but the way Bangladesh excelled in all the departments is certain to boost the squad’s morale that was hurt after the Afghanistan loss.
Source: Prothom Alo.