Graeme Cremer starred with the ball and Zimbabwe's batsmen found some form to beat Bangladesh by 31 runs despite a 50 from the in-form Sabbir Rahman on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe were staring down the barrel of a Twenty20 series defeat having lost the first two of four matches, but excellent contributions from Malcolm Waller (49) and Vusi Sibanda (44) helped them to their third-highest T20 score of 187-6.
Hosts Bangladesh included debutants Abu Hider, Mohammad Shahid, Muktar Ali and Mosaddek Hossain in Khulna with an eye on this year's ICC World Twenty20.
The new-look line-up failed to keep up with the run-rate and Cremer (3-18) was in superb form to restrict the hosts to 156-6, although Sabbir - man of the match in game two - once more impressed.
Sibanda came out firing early and hit four consecutive boundaries off Hider (2-40) in the third over.
Not even the loss of opening partner Hamilton Masakadza (20) - caught at point off Shahid - derailed Zimbabwe.
Shakib Al Hasan (3-32) dismissed Richmond Mutumbami (20) and Sibanda in consecutive overs to stem the momentum slightly.
But Waller went on the attack with four sixes and two fours in an electric 49 off 23 balls, his stand of 74 with the equally impressive Sean Williams (32) boosting the visitors' tally.
Bangladesh started poorly in their response with Imrul Kayes (1) bowled by Tendai Chisoro (1-15) in the first over.
Soumya Sarkar (25) and Sabbir breathed life into the hosts with a 67-run stand, the latter finding particular form against Taurai Muzarabani (0-41) and Brian Vitori (0-45).
However, Cremer ended Sarkar's knock before Sikandar Raza (2-7) made the crucial Zimbabwe breakthrough with a shorter ball that Sabbir pulled to backward square leg with Muzarabani eventually grasping the ball.
Raza struck again to snare Mosaddek (15), and Cremer effectively ended Bangladesh's hopes by accounting for Shakib (3) and Mahmudullah (6) in the 15th over.
Muktar (19) and Nurul Hasan (30) were unbeaten, but the required rate was too high and Zimbabwe can now earn a series draw by winning the fourth contest on Friday.