Soumya 68 helps Bangladesh to series-clinching 5-wicket win in last T20 against Zimbabwe

A scintillating Soumya Sarkar knock and quickfire 31 by Shamim Hossain have powered Bangladesh to a 5-wicket win in the series-deciding last T20 against Zimbabwe.

Chasing a daunting 194 for the win, opener Soumya smashed 68 before Shamim wrapped things up with four balls to spare at the Harare Sporting Club on Sunday.

Skipper Mahmudullah chipped in with 34 to provide support after Shakib Al Hasan departed for 25, chasing a wider delivery from Blessing Muzarabani in the penultimate over.

Electing to bat first, the hosts were carried to the imposing total by Wessley Madhevere (54 off 36 balls), Regis Chakabva (48 off 22 balls) and Ryan Burl (31 off 15 balls).

Also ending with figures of 2-19, Soumya was adjudged Man of the Match and the best player of the series.

Zimbabwe did not allow Bangladesh to get off to a flyer and quickly removed Mohammad Naim for 3 in the third over. Sarkar and Shakib then tried to match the required run-rate but in their search for boundaries ended up mishitting several deliveries.

Shakib then smashed a four before clubbing two sixes off Luke Jongwe, but later in the same over, he holed out to long-off after a 13-ball innings. Zimbabwe then dried up the boundaries while the visitors reached 90 for 2 at the halfway mark.

Mahmudullah hit a four in the last delivery of the 10th over to end the boundary drought before Chakabva missed a stumping opportunity to award Soumya his second life on 36 after being dropped on 25.

The duo then switched gears and hammered 50 in the next four overs. Wellington Masakadza, Jongwe and Dion Myers all got the same treatment before Soumya walked back at the end of the 14th over trying to clear long-on for his second six.

However, their scoring spree had brought the run-rate down to less than nine runs required per over as Afif Hossain (14 off 5 balls) opened his account with a six and bludgeoned another later to help the cause.

Shamim forehanded one through the covers, before reverse-sweeping and then pulling the part-time seamer Myers. Together with Nurul Hasan (1 not out), he brought the math down to five needed off the last over.

He banged the first ball of the final over by Masakadza straight down the ground for a boundary before calmly stroking the next to the mid-on for a single to complete a well-rounded chase by the Tigers.

Earlier, Zimbabwe had signalled their intent from the start when Tadiwanashe Marumani (27) began with two boundaries and a six in the first over.

Madhevere matched his partner at the other end and the duo brought Zimbabwe their best powerplay score of 63-1, before Marumani was cleaned up by Mohammad Saifuddin in the last ball of the powerplay.

Zimbabwe needed to build on the foundation, but Chakabva had other ideas. He blasted six sixes off 15 balls, with shots including switch-hits.

Nasum Ahmed was clubbed for three consecutive sixes while Shakib and Soumya got the same treatment from him as well.

It took a wonderful relay catch by Naim and Shamim to take out Chakabva off Soumya, who struck again later in the over to castle skipper Sikandar Raza for a duck, much to the relief of the visitors at the stage.

Madhevere got out shortly after reaching his second successive half-century.

Supported by Myers (23) at one end, Burl began a late onslaught and was harsh on Saifuddin. He hammered three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten knock.

A happy T20 captain after Bangladesh won the series 2-1 after sweeping the ODI series 3-0 and clinching the one-off Test, Mahmudullah said: “The boys showed their character in the middle.”

“Each and every one contributed and in the end, Shamim played a crucial knock. Altogether it was a good batting effort. When you are chasing 190-plus, you have to build partnerships and rotate strike and try to hit boundaries in each over.

That was our plan and we tried to take it as deep as we can. Soumya is a useful all-rounder, he gave me two wickets. And he stood up and scored some runs for the team. Looking forward to the next bubble and looking forward to the next series.”