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Bangladesh edge Zimbabwe to take an unassailable lead in T20I series

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CHITTAGONG: Towhid Hridoy’s blistering half-century, followed by a combined bowling effort led Bangladesh to beat Zimbabwe by nine runs in the third T20I of the five-match series here on Tuesday.

The narrow victory in the third T20I meant that the home side claimed the series with a decisive 3-0 lead and two matches to spare.

Put into bat first, Bangladesh registered a formidable total of 165/5 in the allotted 20 overs at the back of a crucial fourth-wicket partnership between Hridoy and Jaker Ali.

The hosts, however, had a contrasting start to their innings as they lost two wickets, Litton Das (12) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (6), inside the batting powerplay with just 29 runs on the board.

Following the early debacle, opener Tanzid Hasan put together a cautious partnership with Hridoy.

They added 41 runs for the third wicket before Hasan fell victim to Faraz Akram in the ninth over. He scored 21 off 22 deliveries, hitting one boundary and a six.

Hridoy was joined by wicketkeeper batter Jaker in the middle with the scoreboard reading 80/3 in nine overs.

The duo drove Bangladesh out of trouble and into a dominant position with a sensational partnership.

They dominated the Zimbabwean bowlers and added 87 runs amid their stand, which spanned less than 10 overs.

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Towhid Hridoy and Jaker Ali both perished in the penultimate over, bowled by Blessing Muzarabani, who returned brilliant figures of 3/14 in his four overs.

Hridoy remained the top scorer for Bangladesh with a 38-ball 57 with the help of three boundaries and two sixes while Jaker made 44 off 34, hitting the same number of boundaries.

Set to chase 166, Zimbabwe fell narrowly short of pulling off a miraculous victory, which momentarily seemed possible during Faraz Akram’s late onslaught.

The touring side, after a dismal start, lost wickets at regular intervals and had consequently slipped to 91/8 in 14.1 overs.

However, Akram, coming out to bat at No.10, Faraz put on an astounding 54-run partnership with Wellington Masakadza to keep Zimbabwe in the hunt.

Zimbabwe then needed 21 runs off the final over but Mohammad Saifuddin castled Masakadza on the first delivery to put Bangladesh on top.

Zimbabwe’s No.11 Muzarabani then hit Saifuddin for two consecutive boundaries but he only managed one on the next two deliveries as the touring side needed 12 off the final delivery.

Faraz finished at an unbeaten 34 off 19 balls, the highest by a Zimbabwe batter at number 10.

Saifudding led the bowling attack for Bangladesh with 3/42, followed by Rishad Hossain, who claimed 2/38 while Mahmudullah, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Taskin Ahmed and Tanzim Islam chipped in with a wicket each.

READ: Mohammad Amir eyes to complete “unfinished work” at T20 World Cup

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