Hridoy's half century helps Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe and clinch T20 series

CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh (AP) — Towhid Hridoy hit his maiden half-century as Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by nine runs in the third T20 on Tuesday to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Put into bat first, Bangladesh compiled 165-8 with Hridoy hitting a 38 ball-57 and then defended the total by restricting Zimbabwe to 156-9.

Faraz Akram and Wellington Masakadza, the two changes Zimbabwe made for this match, combined for a national record of 54 runs for ninth wicket to raise the team's hopes but the Bangladeshi bowlers held their nerve.

“Glad with the way the boys played, they showed a lot of character, especially Hridoy and Jaker Ali,” Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said. “We didn’t bowl well in the last five overs, we will need to improve on that front. We’ll look to come back strongly in the next game.”

Bangladesh was reduced to 29-2 after losing out-of-form opener Liton Das and captain Najmul Hossain Shanto, giving Zimbabwe a chance to stay alive in the series.

Hridoy counterattacked to keep the runs flowing but Zimbabwe hit back again when Akram undid Tanzid Hasan with a short-of-length delivery for 21 as Bangladesh was left at 60-3 in ninth over.

Jaker Ali and Hridoy put on 87 off 57 balls, helping Bangladesh reach a solid total.

Hridoy raised his first T20 fifty off 34 balls by steering fast bowler Luke Jongwe to deep cover for a single.

Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, who claimed 3-14 from four overs, finally broke the partnership by rattling the stump of Hridoy with a toe-crusher yorker after the batter had smashed three fours and two sixes in his knock.

Two balls later, Muzarabani again executed a yorker to precision to deny Jaker Ali a half-century. Jaker struck three fours and two sixes for his 34-ball 44.

In reply, Zimbabwe's top-order failed to click again as four of the first five batters were out for a single-digit figure.

“We did fight well, but the fact is that the top five, including myself, haven’t done well," Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza said. "We needed to support Marumani and we could have chased it down.”

Opener Tadiwanashe Marumani came up with some resistance but when occasional bowler Mahmudullah got rid of him, Zimbabwe was left at 66-5.

Jonathon Campbell, who struck a 24-ball 45 in the previous match, gave Bangladesh a brief scare before left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam dismissed him for 21 off 10.

With Zimbabwe on the brink of defeat, Akram and Masakadza gave the side a ray of hope. Akram was the aggressor as he kept the runs flowing.

Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed brought the side back into contention, giving away just six runs in the penultimate over as Zimbabwe needed 27 from 12 balls.

Saifuddin (3-42) broke the partnership by dismissing Masakadza for 13, and then defended 21 runs.

Akram was unbeaten on 34 off 19, hitting two fours and as many sixes.

The fourth T20 is on Friday in Dhaka.


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