Bangladesh got their T20I tri-series campaign off to the perfect start with a three-wicket, last-over victory over Zimbabwe.
Afif Hossain, 19 years old and playing just his second T20I, was the star. He masterminded a lower-order recovery, as Bangladesh recovered from 60/6 in pursuit of 145 from 18 overs in a rain-affected clash.
However, having raced to 52 off 25 balls, and brought the equation down to five needed off the last over, he hit Neville Madziva straight to Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza to threaten a twist in the tale. But Mosaddek Hossain, who played the foil perfectly, kept his calm and struck a pair of twos to seal victory, finishing unbeaten on 30 off 24 balls.
Earlier, it had taken a lower-order recovery of their own to get Zimbabwe up to a competitive total. After Masakadza bludgeoned 34 opening the batting to take his side past 50 for the loss of just Brendan Taylor for 6, a slide of four wickets for 12 runs reduced the tourists to 63/5.
Mosaddek was key, taking 1/10 in three overs to restrict Zimbabwe, while Taijul Islam, Mohammad Saifuddin, and Mustafizur Rahman all claimed a wicket apiece.
It was left to Ryan Burl to salvage the innings, which he did in some style, smashing 57 off 32 balls, including 30 off a single Shakib Al Hasan over. With Tinotenda Mutombodzi offering solid support, Zimbabwe finished with 144/5 and the momentum going into the innings break.
They kept up the pressure at the start of the chase too, with Tendai Chatara and Kyle Jarvis razing the top order. Liton Das was the only member of the Bangladesh top four to make it into double figures before he became the first to fall, bowled by a perfect yorker from Chatara.
The same bowler accounted for Bangladesh captain Shakib, who nicked to first slip, while in between, Jarvis accounted for Soumya Sarkar and Mushfiqur Rahim, the former holing out to mid off as he misread a slower ball, and the latter taking his eye off a short ball and edging behind.
Bangladesh were 29/4, and though Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman took their side past 50, Burl and Madziva struck in consecutive overs to seemingly swing the contest decisively Zimbabwe’s way. Instead, a precocious youngster who hadn’t read the script announced himself in style to save his side.