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​Bangladesh eyes another series triumph

Inconsistent Zimbabwe must win third T20I to keep interest alive in four-match showdown

​Bangladesh eyes another series triumph - Cricket News
Bangladesh has been a strong force at home in recent times, and was therefore expected to dominate the four-match Twenty20 International series against Zimbabwe. The Mashrafe Mortaza-led team has done exactly that, beating Zimbabwe by four wickets and 42 runs respectively in the first two games.

Bangladesh will now aim to seal the series with another win in the third T20I at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna on Wednesday (January 20). If the objective is achieved, it will be the first time Bangladesh will be winning three matches on the trot since completing a whitewash against Ireland in July 2012.
While Sabbir Rahman’s 36-ball 46 and Shakib Al Hasan’s unbeaten 13-ball 20 on his comeback from paternity leave helped Bangladesh chase down 164 with four wickets in hand and eight balls to spare in the first game, the second win was architected by a disciplined all-round performance.

Having chosen to bat, the first-wicket partnership of 45 between Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar laid a strong foundation. After Sarkar became the second wicket to fall, having made 43 in 33 balls, Sabbir came to the fore again.
He hit three sixes on his way to an unbeaten 43 off 30 balls, and with help from Mushfiqur Rahim, who retired hurt for 24, and Shakib (27 not out), took Bangladesh to 167 for 3.
Zimbabwe started its chase on a strong note as Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza, leading the side in the absence of Elton Chigumbura, put on 50 in 6.4 overs.
Mortaza provided the breakthrough when he bowled Sibanda for 21, and that gave Sabbir the opening to make further impact, this time with the ball.
He picked up three wickets including that of Masakadza for 30 as Zimbabwe managed only 125 for 8.

Sabbir, who made his international debut in February 2014, had in the past put up strong performances in a supporting role, but this series has propelled him to the forefront, a shot in the arm for Bangladesh going into the Asia Cup T20 and the World T20 over the next three months. 
“The start matters a lot in T20s. I can finish well if I start well. How I face the first six balls depends on the match situation. Whatever I need, a four, a six or even a single, I always try to start well so that I can make up later on,” Sabbir said, offering an insight into his thinking. “I think a difference of 15-20 between balls faced and runs scored is quite good.
“I have done well at No. 3 in the past. I am trying to take on the pace bowlers and be free by the time the spinners come to bowl in the middle overs,” he added. “I want the team to win and I want to make a contribution.”
Bangladesh, though, still has areas to work on. The team has so far batted 38.4 overs in two games and scored 333 runs. Of them, 188 have come in fours and sixes, while 145 have come in ones and twos. This means the number of dot balls has been quite high.
Bangladesh are keen to rotate the strike more in the remaining two games. "In T20 cricket, it is difficult to play a perfect match," Mortaza said. "There are times when singles don't come and you have to hit boundaries to cover the score. But if you can take as many singles as possible, it is good, especially when the odd boundary is already coming. That's an area which we are focusing on."
Bangladesh has made a few changes for the remaining two games. While Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Shahid and Muktar Ali have been added, the selectors have rested Shuvagata Hom, Al-Amin Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman, and Mushfiqur misses out because of the hamstring injury which forced him to retire hurt in the last game. Taskin Ahmed, who has not played international cricket since June 2015, has also been drafted into the squad.

From Zimbabwe’s perspective, it is a must-win game. Another series loss following the defeat to Afghanistan in Sharjah would raise a lot of question marks ahead of the World T20.
Zimbabwe’s biggest problem has been its lack of consistency. In the first T20I, it was 142 for 2 at the end of the 16th over, having scored at least ten runs an over from the 11th over onwards. The team, however, failed to capitalise on it and managed only 21 runs in the last four overs.
Marvan Atapattu, Zimbabwe’s batting consultant for the series, felt that was the turning point in the game.
On the field, Zimbabwe produced good overs in a few pockets but every time it looked as if the pressure was on the Bangladeshi batsmen, the bowlers conceded too many easy runs to lose their grip over proceedings.
If Zimbabwe can rectify the problems and stitch a win to remain alive in the series, it would make for an interesting final game.
Squads (from):
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nurul Hasan, 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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