Zimbabwe wins final T20 by eight wickets to avoid series sweep against Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Zimbabwe avoided a series clean sweep by beating Bangladesh by eight wickets in the fifth and final Twenty20 match on Sunday.

After being put in to bat, Bangladesh made 157-6 but Brian Bennett’s 70 off 49 balls, with five fours and as many sixes, set the platform for Zimbabwe's victory with nine balls to spare.

Skipper Sikandar Raza finished with 72 off 46 balls and combined with Bennett for a 75-run stand for the second wicket after Shakib Al Hasan struck early to dismiss Tadiwanashe Marumani for 1.

“Like we said in the last three games we were working our way closer and closer to the victory margin,” Raza said. “It’s nice to contribute. The only jigsaw puzzle that’s missing is me scoring runs. If I can contribute towards the success of the team it will give me immense pleasure. And today is one of those days.”

Unlike the past four matches, Zimbabwe was able to resist a top-order collapse as Raza and Bennett dealt with Bangladesh's bowling with a good balance of caution and attack.

Bennett raised his maiden fifty off 36 balls, nudging Mustafizur Rahman to long-on for a single.

Pacer Mohammad Saifuddin had him caught by Rishad Hossain at long-on with a short ball in the 16th over but Zimbabwe were already in control at 113-2.

Raza, who hit six fours and four sixes for his 14th T20 fifty, then expertly led the tourists to victory and deny Bangladesh its first five-match series clean sweep.

Put into bat first, Bangladesh rode on Mahmudullah’s 44-ball 54 after a top order-collapse had left them at 15-3.

“The way we played in this series there’s a lot of areas we can improve,” Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said. “Obviously, I think we didn’t start well today. But there was an opportunity in the middle. Shakib also batted in the middle couple of overs.”

Fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani (2-22) claimed the in-form Taznid Hasan Tamim's wicket for two with a short ball in the second over.

Offspinner Bennett (2-20) then struck twice to remove Soumya for 7 and Towhid Hridoy for 1 as the hosts slipped early.

Mahmudullah and Shanto (36) combined for a 69-run partnership to bring Bangladesh back into the game and after Wellington Masakadza removed Shanto, Mahmudullah added a 39-run stand with Shakib (21) to lift the hosts past 150.


AP cricket: