Waller brings cheer back to ZImbabwe

Malcolm Waller 23-ball 49 buoyed Zimbabwe to 187 for 5 in the death overs © AFP

Bangladesh struck more fours, but Zimbabwe were way ahead in the sixes tally in the third T20I in Khulna. The home side were not able to get any boundaries for 36 balls since the start of the 11th over. They had eight wickets in hand at the time, and needed to go after the bowling considering the asking rate was over 10.

Zimbabwe stifling the runs during that period, and Malcolm Waller‘s big-hitting 49 shaped their 31-run win to stay alive in the four-match series. He struck four sixes, one each in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th overs, lifting his team to 187 for 6 in their 20 overs.

This win is Zimbabwe’s first in T20Is since November last year, which was also against Bangladesh and Waller had been the guiding hand again striking 40 off 27 balls in a final-over thriller.

“Winning this game was very nice,” he said. “The guys are very happy. It is a happy change room. There’s a lot of laughter. To get a win was definitely good. In the last few weeks we have played games probably we should have won but couldn’t quite get over the line. So to do that today, we are happy for all of us.”

Waller believed batting first had been an advantage in Khulna, where rain delayed the start of the match and also interrupted play in the first innings. “I think the way we were going about it, it was probably good to bat first on this wicket and set a target. Having a score on the board is obviously a good positive thing. No matter what the conditions look like, we will bat first and defend.

Waller also made a point to say that wet conditions were not the deciding factor since, like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe’s bowlers also had a tough time on the field. “It was just as difficult for us in the field. The ball was really wet. It was tough for our spinners to hold the ball and seamers to bowl slower balls. I know the pitch got slower but we batted 12 overs in the wet conditions. So I am not sure rain had a big part [in Bangladesh’s defeat],” he said.

Elton Chigumbura was rested for the second game in a row, but Waller said that it was just a ploy to test other players. “We have had a lot of cricket over the last four months. We have been away from home a lot.

“This is a good time for us to try different combinations – rest Elton and watch other guys. He will be back but it is a good opportunity to show what the other guys can do before the World T20.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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