Liton Das, bowlers help Bangladesh clinch series
Bangladesh 120 for 1 (Das 60*, Mpofu 1-27) beat Zimbabwe 119 for 7 (Taylor 59*, Al-Amin 2-22, Rahman 2-25) by nine wickets
Bangladesh sprinted to a 2-0 series victory in the second T20I at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. Once again, Liton Das shone with the bat, registering an unbeaten 60 off 45 balls to guide his team to a nine-wicket over Zimbabwe. While Brendan Taylor had also scored 59 not out off 48 balls, there was little else of substance from the visiting batsmen and they had no answer to Bangladesh's sustained pressure in the field, crawling to a sub-par 119 for 7.
With Tamim Iqbal rested today, Das had a new opening partner in Mohammad Naim, but the result was much the same. Bangladesh cruised to 77 before they lost a wicket, and by then the result was a formality. With one foot on the plane, Zimbabwe went through the motions and whatever intensity there was earlier in the match fizzled out long before Soumya Sarkar pulled Chris Mpofu over midwicket for the second six of his innings to level the scores and then dabbed him down to short third man to end their misery.
Mahmud's first outing
Hasan Mahmud turned heads with his pace in the last edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, picking up ten wickets for Dhaka Platoon with a best of 4 for 32. Having been touted for big things by various scouts and coaches, Mahmud was included in the T20I squad for this series and made the playing XI ahead of Shafiul Islam today as Bangladesh looked to blood some youngsters. As Mahmudullah rang the changes in his attack from the outset, Mahmud was into the fray in the fourth over of the innings and soon showed why there have been whispers of big things to come from him.
His very first ball hooped across the left-hander Craig Ervine to beat his outside edge, his fourth seamed waspishly off a length to repeat the dose, and his fifth was clocked at over 140kph. With his sixth he should have had Taylor caught at short fine leg. Looking to upset the youngster's rhythm, Taylor shuffled across his stumps and aimed a scoop shot over short fine leg but got more height than distance. Al-Amin Hossain hustled backwards but couldn't quite get into position to cling on to the chance. Nevertheless, an impression had been made by Mahmud, and the entire bowling attack followed suit. The wickets were shared around, as were 50 dot balls in the innings, with Al-Amin getting through his quota of four overs at under a run a ball and the offspinners Afif Hossain and Mahedi Hasan taking a combined 2 for 16 from four overs. Bangladesh conceded just one extra throughout the innings, a leg-bye, and never made things easy for Zimbabwe.
Taylor scores an unbeaten half-century
To say that Taylor hasn't had the best tour would be a bit of an understatement: he managed just 27 runs across two innings in the one-off Test as his attempts to take the attack to Bangladesh backfired. In the ODIs, meanwhile, he got starts and looked alright but repeatedly found ways to get out. And while he was out for 1 in the first T20I, he was the glue that held a somewhat flimsy effort from Zimbabwe's batsmen together tonight.
Opening the innings, Taylor laid a platform with a 57-run second-wicket stand with Craig Ervine but Bangladesh's doggedness with the ball meant it was a lot of hard graft. Unfortunately, Taylor had little support from the other end. Ervine provided some stickability, if not rapid scoring, but the rest of Zimbabwe's top order made virtually no impact. Taylor reached a sixth T20I fifty from 42 balls in the 19th over, and hit the only six of the innings but Zimbabwe's total never looked like challenging Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe pay the price for indiscipline
While tight lines and canny change-ups were the hallmarks of Bangladesh's effort in the field, the same was not true of Zimbabwe's attack. They feed Das on his pads, and Naim outside off, as the openers cruised to 44 in the powerplay. Had Naim not holed out, somewhat against the run of play, Bangladesh could have broken yet another partnership record tonight. While there was the odd good delivery bowled, consistency was lacking and so was control: Zimbabwe bowled four wides in the innings, as well as giving away a bye and two leg-byes.
Das does it again
Everything Das has touched on this tour has turned to gold. So, there was a sense of inevitability to proceedings this evening, with Zimbabwe's bowlers seemingly having learned nothing in their battles with him over the past few weeks.
Not that they had much say in the matter. Das displayed a remarkable serenity, even as he ticked along at well over a run a ball. Good deliveries were kept out, or nudged for singles, and bad ones unerringly slotted to the boundary. He registered a 35-ball fifty without a hint of violence in his strokeplay, killing Zimbabwe softly, and was named both Player of the Match and of the Series for his efforts.