Zimbabwe’s revival under new head coach Dave Houghton continued after they recorded their first-ever bilateral T20I series win against Bangladesh with a thrilling 10-run victory in the third and final series-deciding T20I at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Middle-order batsman Ryan Burl was the hero after scoring 34 runs in an over on his way to 54 off 28 deliveries as Zimbabwe recovered from 55 for five inside 10 overs to reach 156 for five in their allotted 20 overs.
After Burl’s heroics with the bat, Zimbabwe’s new look pace bowling line-up produced a magnificent performance to restrict Bangladesh to 146 for eight.
Playing in only his second T20I, Victor Nyauchi was in superb form with the ball as he finished with impressive bowling figures of three for 29 in four overs while Brad Evans claimed two wickets in two balls to derail the tourists midway through their run chase.
Earlier Zimbabwe began the day with high hopes of finally registering their first T20I series at home which would have handed them their maiden bilateral T20I series win against the Bangladeshis.
But after skipper Craig Ervine won the toss and elected to bat, Zimbabwe’s hopes were hanging by a thread after losing their first five wickets with just 55 runs on the board inside 9,1 overs.
Of the top five batsmen, only openers Regis Chakabva (17) and Ervine (24) reached double figures while the trio of Wessley Madhevere (5), Sean Williams (2) and Sikandar Raza (0) never got going.
#POTM: For his 6⃣6⃣6⃣6⃣4⃣6⃣ in an over and 5⃣8⃣ off 28 deliveries, @ryanburl3 was awarded Player of the Match 🔥 pic.twitter.com/kAw3EF5SfP
— Zimbabwe Cricket (@ZimCricketv) August 2, 2022
It soon got worse in the 13th over when Milton Shumba edged Mustafizur Rahman to the wicketkeeper Anamul Haque to leave Zimbabwe on 67 for 6.
Zimbabwe needed something special to rescue their innings and their fading hopes of a victory and they got that from Burl show as he picked his moment to hit five sixes and a four off a single over by Nasum.
That 34-run over changed the momentum of the game for the hosts as Burl and Luke Jongwe strung together a 79-run seventh-wicket stand. Jongwe was holed out after a 20-ball 35 and Burl powered to a 28-ball 54 before he skied one off Hasan Mahmud to depart in the 19th over as Zimbabwe reached 156 for eight.
Spinner Mahedi and pacer Mahmud each got two wickets for 28 runs in their four overs.
Buoyed by impressive finish with the bat, Zimbabwe returned to produce a remarkable bowling effort which was made more special by the fact that they were missing their frontline bowlers Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava.
After winning the T20I series, Zimbabwe will be seeking to continue their good run in the ODI series which begins at the same venue on Friday.