Sunday, April 14, 2024

Shakib, Ashraful propel Tigers

A strong all-round performance by Shakib Al Hasan and a hard-hitting cameo by Mohammad Ashraful, which included three sixes and two fours, led Bangladesh to a 5-wicket win over Zimbabwe in their World T20 warm-up at the Colts Cricket Ground in Colombo yesterday.
Chasing a target of 135, Bangladesh were in trouble in the second over as Brian Vitori got the crucial wicket of Tamim Iqbal. Tamim, who had earlier smacked the Zimbabwean pacer through the covers for a four, was caught by Malcolm Waller three balls later as he looked for another boundary.
The early loss of the dashing lefthander, however, didn’t affect the run-rate as Shakib, who has been promoted up the order in this format of the game, and Ashraful scored 50 in the next five overs. The pair hit seven boundaries and a six before the experienced Raymond Price got Shakib in the eighth over. The wicket, however, brought no solace for Price, as he got hit for two sixes in the very same over by Ashraful.
Ashraful’s entertaining innings came to an end in the next over when he was bowled by Graeme Cremer. The wicket triggered a mini-collapse for Bangladesh as Captain Mushfiqur Rahim and all-rounder Nasir Hossain lost their wickets in consecutive overs. At the midway mark, Bangladesh were struggling at 85 for 5 and required 50 runs from 54 balls. However, the ice-cool Mahmudallah Riyadh and new entrant Ziaur Rahman ensured that there were no further hiccups with a half-century stand. The pair guided Bangladesh home with 10 balls remaining.
Ashraful, whose 25-ball 38 held the core of the Bangladesh innings claimed that the wicket was a touch on the slower side. “It would have been better if we had won with more wickets in hand but it is a satisfying result nevertheless. It was not an easy wicket and we had to work quite hard in the middle,” he said.
Earlier, the Zimbabwean batsmen found life difficult after they were put in to bat by Mushfiqur. The slow-left arm bowling combination of Abdul Razzaq and Shakib yielded three wickets for only 37 runs. Zimbabwe were in trouble right from the word go as they lost their star batsman Hamilton Masakadza and their captain Brendon Taylor within the first ten overs.
Opener Vusi Sibanda, who had managed to create a launching pad of sorts with a steady 40, failed to kick on as he was caught by Abdul Razzaq of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza in the 19th over. Some late hitting at the end by Craig Ervine and Elton Chigumbura ensured that Zimbabwe helped Zimbabwe put up a defendable total.
Bangladesh will play their second warm-up game against Ireland tomorrow at the same venue.
ZIMBABWE: 134 for 6 in 20 overs (Sibanda 40, Taylor 21; Razzaq 2-21, Shakib 1-16).
BANGLADESH: 135 for 5 in 18.2 overs (Ashraful 38, Shakib 28; A Cremer 2-10, Chigumbura 1-8)

-With The Daily Star input

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