Bangladesh pulled off their highest successful run chase in a bilateral T20I series and beat Zimbabwe by five wickets at Harare Sports Club in Harare. With this win, the visitors clinched the series 2-1. It was only their third T20I series win away from home.
Soumya Sarkar put on a stellar performance with both bat and ball, picking up two important wickets and playing a match-winning knock of 68.
Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza won the toss for the third time in a row and elected to bat first. Bangladesh made a solitary change, bringing in Nasum Ahmed for Mahedi Hasan.
Wessley Madhevere and Tadiwanashe Marumani got the home side off to a flyer. Marumani, in particular, looked positive right from the word 'go'. Marumani belted Shoriful for a four and a six in the third over. But it was the in-form Madhevere who really put Bangladesh on the back foot. He hit Taskin Ahmed for five consecutive boundaries in a row in the fourth over.
Mohammad Saifuddin got the first breakthrough by cleaning up Marumani in the last ball of the powerplay. The hosts still had yet another productive batting powerplay, scoring 63 for one.
Bangladesh failed to stop the run flow as Regis Chakabva, the Zimbabwe number three, hit a flurry of boundaries that included three sixes in a row off Nasum Ahmed in the 10th over. Zimbabwe reached their team hundred even before the completion of the 10th over.
Madhevere racked up his second fifty of the series off just 31 deliveries. Zimbabwe were looking all set for a total in excess of 200 at 122 for one after 11 overs.
Soumya Sarkar put the brakes on by dismissing the dangerous Chakabva and Sikandar Raza in the 12th over. Chakabva was dismissed thanks to some brilliant work by Naim Sheikh and Shamim Hossain at the deep midwicket boundary. He made 48 off just 22 balls with the help of six sixes. Raza didn't last more than two balls and was cleaned up by Soumya.
Bangladesh pulled things back slightly after the dismissal of Chakabva and Raza. Madhevere was sent back by Shakib in the 16th over after scoring 54 off 36.
Shoriful Islam bowled well at the death using his variations to good effect. He gave away only two runs in the penultimate over and got the wicket of Dion Myers. But Saifuddin haemorrhaged too many runs at the death. Ryan Burl took a liking to his bowling and hit him for three fours and two sixes. Saifuddin conceded 19 and 16 runs in the 18th and 20th over respectively. Burl's undefeated cameo of 31 off 15 balls propelled the hosts to 193 for five. This was Zimbabwe's second-highest total in T20Is.
Bangladesh scored 50 in the powerplay for the loss of one wicket. Mohammad Naim was dismissed in the third over. Soumya Sarkar struggled with his timing but occupied one end. Shakib played a handy knock of 25 off 13 before getting out in the 8th over. Bangladesh were very much in the game with a score of 90 for two after 10 overs.
Soumya struck three consecutive boundaries and reached his fifty in the 12th over off 40 balls.
Mahmudullah looked very positive since his arrival in the crease. He added 63 with Soumya in 5.5 overs before the latter got out in the 14th over. Soumya did the bulk of the scoring in the partnership and gave Bangladesh a great chance to chase down the target. The southpaw scored a career-best 68 off 49 balls. When Soumya got out, Bangladesh were in a good position requiring 61 off 39 balls.
Afif Hossain walked out to bat at number five and opened his account with a maximum. The left-hander hit another six in the next over and then was cleaned up while attempting a ramp shot. He played a cameo of 14 off five balls.
Shamim Hossain struck three boundaries off Dion Myers in the 18th over to bring the equation down to 13 off 12.
Mahmudullah was sent back by Blessing Muzarabani in the penultimate over but the damage was already done. Mahmudullah made 34.
Bangladesh chased down 194 with four balls to spare. Shamim was unbeaten on 31 off just 15 balls.
This was Bangladesh's first T20I series win in Zimbabwe.