Zimbabwe lost 8/61 after being 91/2 at the halfway mark.

Mohammad Naim
Mohammad Naim. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Easy half-centuries from openers Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar took Bangladesh to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening T20I of the three-match series. The fixture was entirely fruitless for the host bowlers, with none of them getting even a single wicket.

Having opted to bat upon winning the toss, Zimbabwe had a rather sorry-looking batting card, with Regis Chakabva and debutant Dion Myers giving the only performances of note. Mustafizur Rahman struck early to remove opener Tadiwanashe Marumani for a run-a-ball seven before Chakabva added 64 for the second wicket alongside Wesley Madhevere.

While Chakabva managed to put some pressure on the bowlers with his aggressive approach, Madhevere could not free his arms much, scoring a run-a-ball 23, with only a solitary six, before spooning a return catch to Shakib Al Hasan.

Guilty once again of their habit of not being able to form enough partnerships, Zimbabwe lost 8/61 after being 91/2 at the halfway mark. The halfway mark was when it seemed that they might be able to put up a challenging total, although an attempt to steal a single in the 11th over cost Chakabva his wicket as he was dismissed run-out by wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan, and from there the slide began.

Only four balls later, Shoriful Islam got one of the opposition’s most experienced batter, Sikandar Raza, caught behind for a duck to spoil the momentum. Soumya Sarkar trapped Tarisai Musakanda lbw, while Islam bagged his second scalp when he knocked down Myers’ stumps to send him back for 35. Luke Jongwe swung his bat for a brief while to take the total past 150 before being cleaned up by Mohammad Saifuddin, while Rahman cleaned up the tail to dismiss Zimbabwe for 152 in 19 overs.

Bangladesh in cruise control

Zimbabwe lacked the wicket-taking incision with the ball to trouble the Bangladesh batters, with both Naim and Sarkar scoring runs at a convenient pace. After a sluggish start, the duo accelerated dominatingly as they added 102 runs for the opening stand to kill the chase entirely. Sarkar was run out immediately after notching up his half-century, which had four boundaries and a couple of meaty sixes.

Blessing Muzarabani’s direct hit then found Mahmudullah short as Bangladesh lost their second wicket, but with only 30 needed, Nurul Hasan, who scored 16 off 8, joined Naim, who stood unbeaten on 63 off 51 with six fours to take the team home with 7 balls to spare.

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