Captain Nurul’s fight ends in vain

Bangladesh batsman Liton Das walks off the pitch after loosing his wicket during the first T20 cricket match played between Bangladesh and hosts Zimbabwe, on 30 July, 2022 at the Harare Sports ClubAFP

Captain Nurul Hasan made a valiant 42 off 26 balls but it wasn’t enough for Bangladesh to avoid a 17-run defeat in the first Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club Stadium on Saturday.

Nurul, in his very first match as Bangladesh captain, was let down by the bowlers, as Bangladesh’s erratic bowling allowed Zimbabwe to post 205-3, their highest ever score in T20Is.

Wesley Madhevere made 67 off 46 balls while all-rounder Sikander Raza smashed a quickfire 65 off just 26 balls to take Zimbabwe to 205-3 in their 20 overs.

Pacer Mustafizur Rahman was Bangladesh’s most successful bowler with two wickets for which he conceded 50 runs in four overs.

In reply, Nurul’s unbeaten knock and Najmul Hossain Shanto’s 37 off 25 took Bangladesh to 188-6.

For Zimbabwe, pacer Luke Jongwe was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 2-34.

Bangladesh’s reply began poorly as they lost opener Munim Shahriar in the second over. Munim gave a straightforward catch to Tanaka Chivanga off Wellington Masakdza to depart for four.

Liton Das, on the other hand, looked in fine touch. The right-hander raced to 32 off 18 balls with the help of seven boundaries.

Liton’s promising innings ended in a somewhat comical manner. Liton tried to scoop Sean Williams but ended up lobbing the ball to Richard Ngarava at fine leg. But Liton was lucky as Ngarava made a mess of the easy chance and dropped the catch.

Bangladesh batsman Liton Das plays a scoop shot

But Liton, already resigning to his fate, thought the catch had been taken and started walking for the dressing room without looking back. Ngarava, after dropping the catch, threw the ball at the bolwer’s end, where Williams did the rest.

Anamul Haque was the next to depart after taking up 27 deliveries to score just 26 runs. Afif Hossain also disappointed, departing for 10 off eight balls, with the score on 106-4 after 12.3 overs.

Najmul Hossain Shanto and new skipper Nurul Hasan then added 40 runs for the fifth wicket off just 21 deliveries.

Najmul Hossain Shanto plays a shot

But this partnership also ended when Shanto pulled a short delivery from Luke Jongwe straight to Marakadza to depart for 37 off 25 balls.

Nurul was then joined by Mosaddek Hossain with Bangladesh needing 60 runs off 24 deliveries.

Nurul and Mosaddek took 28 runs from the next two overs as the equation came down to 32 off 12 balls.

Ngarava bowled tight 19th over, conceding just four runs and took the wicket of Mosaddek to take the match out of Bangladesh’s reach.

Earlier, sent to bowl, Bangladesh used five bowlers in the first six overs. Mustafiz claimed the wicket of Regis Chakabva for eight in the third over as Zimbabwe reached 43-1 after the powerplay.

Mosaddek struck immediately after the powerplay, bowling out skipper Craig Ervine for 21 off 18 balls.

After a couple of quite overs, Sean Williams exploded in the 11th over, taking Nasum for 18 runs.

Nurul brought back Mustafiz back into the attack and the pacer shattered Willams stumps to remove him after an entertaining 33 off 19 deliveries and reducing Zimbabwe to 99-3.

Bangladesh bowler Nasum Ahmed (2nd R) delivers during the first T20i cricket match played between Bangladesh and hosts Zimbabwe, on 30 July 2022 at the Harare Sports Club

Madhevere was then joined by Raza and the duo wreaked havoc at the middle right until Madhevere left the field retired hurt in the 19.3 over.

In just 43 balls, the duo added 91 runs. Raza was the aggressor, smashing seven fours and four sixes in his unbeaten innings while Madhevere also played his part from the other end.

Shoriful and Mustafiz bowled the penultimate and the ultimate overs of the innings respectively. Both pacers were taken for 19 runs in their overs as the hosts took their score beyond 200 and beyond Bangladesh’s reach.

Bangladesh used six bowlers in the innings, four frontline options and two part-times. The part-time options Mosaddek Hossain and Afif Hossain collectively conceded 27 runs in their four overs.

But it was the frontline bowlers- Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed and Nasum Ahmed- who failed to keep the scoring down, allowing the hosts to post a winning total.

The second T20I of the three-match series will take place at the same venue on Sunday.