Raza 72 not out guides Zimbabwe to consolation win over Bangladesh

Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza plays a shot during the fifth Twenty20 international cricket match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN)
Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza plays a shot during the fifth Twenty20 international cricket match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN)

Sikandar Raza and Brian Bennett hit half-centuries as Zimbabwe secured an eight-wicket consolation victory over Bangladesh in the final Twenty20 international in Dhaka on Sunday to avoid a 5-0 whitewash.

Captain Raza hit an unbeaten 72 off 46 to guide Zimbabwe to 158-2 after they restricted Bangladesh, who won the first four matches of the series, to 157-6.

Bennett struck 70 off 49 balls after picking up 2-20 with the ball at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Zimbabwe lost opener Tadiwanashe Marumani for one, but Bennett and Raza added 75 runs for the second wicket to put the visitors firmly in control.

Mohammad Saifuddin dismissed Bennett, who struck five fours and as many sixes, but Raza defied a muscle injury to see Zimbabwe to victory.

He struck six fours and four sixes in his unbeaten knock before Johnathan Campbell hit the winning single with nine balls to spare.

Zimbabwe were "obviously very disappointed" with the series defeat, Bennett said after the match. "It took us four or five games to win.

"Credit to our bowlers, they have done very well," he said. "It's just the batting, especially in the powerplay. We know what we can do. So, hopefully we can take the momentum forward."

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto was happy with their performance in the series ahead of the T20 World Cup, despite the crushing defeat in the final match.

"It's been a very good series," he said. "Winning the series definitely increases confidence.

"The satisfaction is that the experiments that we did, the things that we needed to see, that worked as we won a few close matches."

Earlier, Mahmudullah Riyad hit 54 off 44 balls for Bangladesh.

The right-hander, who struck six fours and a six, put on 69 runs with Najmul to help Bangladesh recover from 15-3 after they were asked to bat.

All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan added 21 off 17 balls after Najmul's departure for 36 runs after facing 28 balls.

The hosts were in trouble when Blessing Muzarabani removed opener Tanzid Hasan Tamim for two and Bennett struck twice in successive overs.

Bennett had opener Soumya Sarkar caught by Sean Williams at backward point for seven before he forced Towhid Hridoy to edge behind for one.

Mahmudullah launched a counter-attack, cracking three fours off the first four balls he faced.

Wellington Masakadza dismissed Najmul to break the partnership but Shakib's brief cameo kept the scoreboard ticking over.

Luke Jongwe brought a premature end to Shakib's innings, but Jaker Ali Anik hit an unbeaten 24 off 11 balls.

Muzarabani took 2-22 for Zimbabwe.

str/sa/slb/pbt