Afif fifty fires Bangladesh to thrilling win

Quamrul Hassan | Update:

Afif, playing his second T20 international, was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match. Photo : Shamsul HaqYoungster Afif Hossain hit a smashing fifty to lead Bangladesh to a dramatic three-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first game of the tri-nation series in Dhaka on Friday.

Chasing 145, the hosts were six wickets down on 60 and the fans dreaded another embarrassing defeat, but Afif and Mosaddek Hossain made 72 in the seventh wicket to save the day for Bangladesh.

Afif's match-winning 52 was scored in 26 balls, meaning he had a strike rate of 200.00 in the game. The all-rounder hammered eight fours and a six to turn the table on the Zimbabwe bowlers while Mosaddek contributed an unbeaten 30 from 24 balls, which featured two sixes.

Afif, playing his second T20 international, was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match.

The Tigers had a decent start, but the fall of Liton Das (19 off 14) was followed by Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim getting out on 4, 1 and 0 respectively.

Mahmudullah could only add 14 and Sabbir Rahman 15 before Afif and Mosaddek stole the show.

Earlier, Ryan Burl slammed 57 in 32 balls, including 30 off a Shakib Al Hasan over, to help Zimbabwe make 144 for 5.

The match was curtailed to an 18-over affiar as continuous rain delayed the start of the game.

Burl hit three fours and three sixes in the 16th over bowled by the Bangladesh captain. He and Tinotenda Mutombodzi added 81 in the six-wicket, with the latter contributing 27 in 26 balls.

Bangladesh spinner Taijul Islam became one of the very few bowlers to take a wicket in his first ever T20 delivery on the day when he removed Brendan Taylor thanks to a Mahmudullah catch in the first ball of the second over.

Shakib had asked Zimbabwe to bat first, but they could not cope up with the Bangladesh bowling as the Tigers kept striking every now and then before Burl and Mutombodzi made that big partnership.

Opener Hamilton Masakadza, also their captain, was the odd one out, making 34 off 26 balls thanks to five fours and a six.

Like Taijul, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin and Mosaddek Hossain claimed one wicket each.

Bangladesh will play Afghanistan in the next game on Sunday, knowing a win will make them favourites to reach the final.

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