Bangladesh 321 for 6 (Das 126, Mithun 50, Mpofu 2-68) beat Zimbabwe 152 (Madhevere 35, Saifuddin 3-22) by 169 runs
Bangladesh stormed to a 169-run win in Sylhet, their largest in ODIs. They rode on a ton from Liton Das and swift cameos from Mohammad Mithun and Mohammad Saifuddin to reach 321 for 6 before Zimbabwe’s chase imploded. Saifuddin did the early damage with an opening spell of 2 for 6 in five overs and the visitors never really recovered, bowled out for 152 with Bangladesh’s bowlers sharing the wickets around.
On a hot, humid afternoon, Das appeared more troubled by the conditions than he was by Zimbabwe’s attack. Opening the batting alongside Tamim Iqbal, he crunched the sixth ball of the innings to the cover point boundary and added three more fours inside the Powerplay to set the tone of the innings. Iqbal raised Bangladesh’s fifty in the 11th over with a rasping cut, but otherwise played within himself and was fortunate to survive a strong lbw shout soon afterwards when Carl Mumba pinged his front pad with a full, angled delivery.
Zimbabwe declined the review even though replays showed Iqbal would have been out. There was some iffy judgment with regards to the DRS from both sides as Iqbal then burnt Bangladesh’s review when Wesley Madhevere, the 19 year old debutant, trapped him in front with an offbreak that rushed on with the arm.
But there was no doubt about Das’s acumen with the bat in hand and he progressed steadily, in almost complete control, putting the fielders under pressure with some swift running and cashing in on anything loose.
At the other end, Najmul Hossain Shanto was similarly sharp in calling for quick singles, and he peppered the boundary with a couple of crisp strokes of his own as the pair added 80 for the second wicket in quick time. Bangladesh cruised past 100 in the 20th over, but Iqbal’s injudicious use of the review earlier came back to haunt Shanto when he was given out lbw to a ball from Tino Mutombodzi that would have missed the off stump.
The dismissal slowed Bangladesh’s progress somewhat, and they went seven overs between the 26th and 34th without a boundary before Das ended the drought with a whip through midwicket to raise his hundred. He shifted through the gears thereafter, swiping Tiripano for three boundaries in the space of an over and then heaving Madhevere over midwicket for his second six. But, having struggled with cramp for some time in the sweltering heat, Das was then forced from the field.
There was little respite for Zimbabwe, however, as Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah plundered 68 runs in the space of nine overs before Mahmudullah was removed, on review, by a Chris Mpofu yorker. Mithun raised a 40-ball fifty with his fifth four before he, likewise, was undone by an indipping yorker from Mpofu, but Saifuddin ensured Bangladesh would not be slowed by the quick strikes. He cleared the ropes with three massive hits in the final over of the innings to breach 300 and lift the hosts to an imposing total.
Saifuddin transferred his batting momentum into his bowling effort, and Zimbabwe’s chase was almost immediately derailed. With his fourth ball, he caught Tinashe Kamunhukamwe flat footed in the crease, the ball ricocheting into the stumps via the inside edge. Six overs later, Saifuddin nipped one in off the seam to strike a shuffling Regis Chakabva in front of his stumps – a review confirming his downfall – and captain Chamu Chibhabha then aimed a desperate heave at Mashrafe Mortaza only to slice a simple catch to mid-off.
Zimbabwe were three down inside the Powerplay, with the required rate already ballooning above seven an over and their innings looking increasingly rudderless. It was left to Madhevere to give it some impetus and a veneer of respectability.
He shrugged off the loss of Brendan Taylor, fluffing a slog sweep to be bowled by Taijul Islam, with a couple of crisp strokes which showed his potential to succeed at this level and briefly rallied alongside Sikandar Raza. They added 35 for the fifth wicket – the highest stand of the innings – before Raza top-edged a pull at Mustafizur Rahman and Zimbabwe’s slide began in earnest.
Madhevere followed him to the pavilion soon afterwards, swatting a catch into the covers, and with the match out of their grasp Zimbabwe’s lower order decided they would go down swinging. Wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami flogged two big sixes before he was run out, and Tiripano was aiming for a boundary of his own when he slammed a stinging return catch back to Mehidy Hasan.
After two big hits, Mumba’s merrymaking was ended by a full, straight delivery from Saifuddin that clattered into the stumps, but it was left to Mortaza to bring the innings to an end. In the 40th over, Tino Mutombodzi swiped underneath a short one to present a steepling chance to Saifuddin at deep square leg and give Mortaza his 100th ODI wicket as captain in his final series in charge of the one-day side.
His milestone was one of several bright points for Bangladesh took a 1-0 series lead, but Zimbabwe failed to turn up in any department today.