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Naim Sarkar

Naim, Sarkar's record opening partnership guides Bangladesh to victory

ZIM v BAN, first T20I, match report

Bangladesh go 1-0 up in the T20I series against Zimbabwe on the back of a brilliant comeback from the bowlers, and a 102-run opening stand.


In the absence of Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor, Sikander Raza captained the side in the first T20I and chose to bat first. The home side didn't get off to a great start as Mustafizur Rahman removed Tadiwanashe Marumani (7) in just the second over of the innings, courtesy of a stunning running catch by Soumya Sarkar.

Wessley Madhevere and Regis Chakabva then got together to string a 64-run stand off just 38 balls, with Chakabva assuming the role of the aggressor. Shakib Al Hasan broke the partnership with a well-judged caught and bowled to dismiss Madevere (23) before wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan showed great presence of mind to run Chakabva (43) out.

Dion Myers, making his T20I debut for Zimbabwe, kept the scoreboard ticking with a 22-ball 35 but didn't find enough support in the other end as Sikander Raza (0) and Tarisai Musakanda (6) got out playing loose shots.

Luke Jongwe's innings of 18 and a couple of boundaries towards the end of the innings from Blessing Muzarabani (8) ensured Zimbabwe cross the 150-run mark.

Mohammad Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman picked up two wickets each in the 18th and 19th over to bundle the hosts out for 152, who were at 91/2 at the halfway stage. 

Bangladesh got off to a great start in their chase, with Mohammad Naim taking the attack to the bowlers while Soumya Sarkar was solid at the other end. The two put together a 102-run partnership, the highest opening wicket stand for Bangladesh in T20Is, a record previously held by Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das (92) which incidentally came against Zimbabwe in March last year.

Sarkar completed his fifty in 45 balls but was run-out after some brilliant glovework from wicketkeeper Chakabva. Captain Mahmudullah (15) too found himself short of the crease from a Muzarabani direct hit.

Nurul Hasan (16*) and Naim (63*) ensured there were no more hiccups as they got Bangladesh across the line with seven balls to spare.

A half-century, a wicket and a wonderful running catch fetched Sowmya Sarkar the Player of the Match.

The two teams will now face off in the second T20I on Friday, 23 July at Harare.

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