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Bangladesh runs into revitalised Zimbabwe

Host eyes 3-1 scoreline, while visitor will fancy its chances of levelling four-match T20I series

Bangladesh runs into revitalised Zimbabwe - Cricket News
Malcolm Waller, who made his international debut in 2008-09, has been a part of only 22 wins across three formats, but his role in those victories, especially T20Is, stands out.
That Zimbabwe still has a chance to level the four-match Twenty20 International series against Bangladesh going into the final game at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna on Friday (January 22) is largely because of Malcolm Waller.
Down 0-2 in the series and desperately in search of a win, Zimbabwe started the third T20I on a positive note through its openers, before Shakib Al Hasan’s twin strike triggered a slight wobble and reduced it to 89 for 3 in 10.5 overs.
That is when Waller came to the fore. His attractive hitting and a 74-run stand with Sean Williams played a big part in setting up Zimbabwe’s 31-run win. Waller’s 23-ball 49, which included two fours and four sixes, helped Zimbabwe post 187 for 6, its best away performance ever.
After that, Sikandar Raza and Graeme Cremer picked up crucial wickets to give Zimbabwe its first T20I win since November.
“Winning this game was very nice. The guys are very happy. It is a happy change room. There’s a lot of laughter,” Waller said after the game. “In the last few weeks, we have played games we should have probably won but couldn’t quite get over the line. So to do that, we are happy for all of us.”
It is easy to overlook the capabilities of someone like Waller, who made his international debut in 2008-09 but has been a part of only 22 wins across three formats. But his role in those victories, especially T20Is, stands out.
He has played a significant part in three of the four T20I wins he has been a part of. While his unbeaten 14-ball 26 against Bangladesh in Bulawayo in 2013 helped Zimbabwe prevail by six runs, his 40 in 27 balls against the same opponent in Mirpur last year allowed his team to level the two-match series after losing the first game. His strike-rate in four wins is 172.85, the second highest for any Zimbabwean batsmen with at least 100 runs in victories behind Elton Chigumbura’s 203.50 in six victories.
While Chigumbura, the captain, was rested for the last two games with the team management trying out new players in the build-up to the ICC World T20 2016 in March and April in India, Waller took up the responsibility when it mattered.
Zimbabwe would want him and others to come good one final time so that it can notch up an important win and erase memories of the series loss against Afghanistan in Sharjah.
From Bangladesh’s perspective, it had the chance to win three T20I matches in a row for the first time since recording a clean sweep against Ireland in July 2012. But now it has to play to its potential to ensure that a series win doesn’t slip away.
Bangladesh’s decision to field four debutants in the last game was criticised, but Mashrafe Mortaza defended the newcomers, who failed to deliver at crunch moments.
“We lost because we didn’t play according to the plans. We didn’t want to lose, that’s for sure. Everyone was given a specific plan but they couldn’t put it into action,” the skipper said. “We had said before that we will test combinations. We had to make three changes because two players were injured and we rested Al-Amin. We made two more changes. It was clearly going to be a little harder for us with a number of new faces. Rain didn’t do us any favours either.”

Bangladesh will be expected to bring back Al-Amin and Tamim Iqbal for the must-win game so that they can add depth and allow Soumya Sarkar, Shakib, who now has 8000 runs and 400 wickets in international cricket, and Sabbir Rahman, the home team’s star this series, to play more freely.
A win would make it memorable for Bangladesh, which will be playing its 50th T20I. Mortaza did not believe his team was under any kind of added pressure. “I don’t think there is extra pressure on us,” he said. “We have played under more pressure in the past. We have to keep planning and look to win.”
Teams (from):
Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mahmudullah, Arafat Sunny, Mohammad Shahid, Abu Hider, Muktar Ali, Mosaddek Hossain, Taskin Ahmed.

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Chamu Chibhabha, Neville Madziva, Vusi Sibanda, Brian Vitori, Luke Jongwe, Taurai Muzarabani, Tendai Chisoro.

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