Afif, Mustafizur give Bangladesh consolation win after two famous run chases, Zimbabwe finally got one wrong in the third and final ODI against Bangladesh and went down by 105 runs.
Chasing a target of 257, the hosts were bowled out for only 151 in 32.2 overs. The silver lining was that Zimbabwe soon got their hands on the trophy, with the 2-1 scoreline in their favour. For Bangladesh, it was a bittersweet finish too. They wrapped up the tour with an impressive performance but it doesn’t hide the fact that they lost both the T20I and ODI series on the tour, drawing sharp criticism from the fans and board alike. Their performance on Wednesday, however, merited anything but.
Defending what was a decent target on a fresh surface, Bangladesh got off to the best of starts as Hasan Mahmud trapped Takudzwanashe Kaitano with the fifth ball of the innings. In the next over, Mehidy Hasan Miraz followed up with the wicket of Tadiwanashe Marumani that had Zimbabwe reeling at 7/2. It soon became 18/4 when Ebadot Hossain picked the wickets of Wesley Madhevere and in-form batter Sikandar Raza with consecutive deliveries. Raza, who scored unbeaten match-winning hundreds in the first two ODIs, got a first-ball duck this time.
With Raza gone, Taijul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman sliced through the middle order, picking between them the next four wickets to fall. The visitors, however, were caught unaware by the 68-run stand for the tenth wicket between Richard Ngarava (34* off 27) and Victor Nyauchi (26 off 31). Both the batters counterattacked from their ends, making Bangladesh huff and puff for about 10 overs to get the elusive final wicket and the win.
Earlier in the day, Afif Hossain’s 85* and Anamul Haque’s 76 propelled Bangladesh to 256/9 after Zimbabwe won the toss and put them in. Bangladesh openers negotiated the early swing and seam on offer to add 41 runs before Tamim Iqbal’s run out triggered a collapse. From 41/0, Bangladesh were 47/3 in a matter of eight balls as Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mushfiqur Rahim fell in a Brad Evans over moments after Tamim’s run out. Mushfiqur’s wicket in particular was down to Richard Ngarava’s diving catch running in from third man.
Anamul then added 77 runs for the fourth wicket with Mahmudullah, bringing up his fifth ODI fifty in the process. The opener even smashed a six onto the roof at the Harare Sports Club. It was Jongwe who got him caught-behind in the end, striking once again with the old ball in the middle overs. But the breakthrough didn’t quite materialize for the hosts as Afif Hossain took over for Bangladesh from thereon. It didn’t help that Innocent Kaia dropped a regulation return chance when Afif was on 2; the batter would go on to add 83 more runs to his tally and help Bangladesh reach a competitive total.
Four wickets fell in the last 10 overs as Zimbabwe continued to strike, with each of Sikander Raza, Luke Jongwe and Richard Ngarawa striking on either side of Taijul Islam’s run out. So it was largely down to Afif that Bangladesh scored 35 in the last four overs.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BANGLADESH 256 for 9 (Afif 85*, Anamul 76, Jongwe 2-38) beat ZIMBABWE 151 (Ngarava 34, Nyauchi 26, Mustafizur 4-17) by 105 runs.