Bangladesh 322 for 8 (Iqbal 158, Tiripano 2-55) beat Zimbabwe 318 for 8 (Raza 66, Tiripano 55*, Islam 3-52) by four runs
Bangladesh survived a thrilling late rally from Zimbabwe’s lower order to secure a four-run win in an epic finish in Sylhet. After Tamim Iqbal‘s record-breaking 158 had boosted Bangladesh to 322 for 8, Zimbabwe appeared out of the hunt when they slipped to 225 for 7 in the 42nd over. But Donald Tiripano and Tinotenda Mutombodzi launched a rousing counter-attack with an eighth wicket stand that brought 80 runs in just 7.3 overs. Tiripano struck five enormous sixes, including two in the final over, but he needed to hit another one off the final ball to secure the fairytale finish. It was not to be, Al-Amin Hossain holding his nerve at the last to seal the series for Bangladesh.
Mutombodzi and Tiripano’s partnership was a new record for the eighth wicket in ODIs in Bangladesh, and was all the more remarkable given the situation in which it arose. When Sikandar Raza sliced Mashrafe Mortaza to third man to fall for 66, Zimbabwe’s last frontline batsman was back in the dugout and the required rate was well over 12 an over. Tiripano’s career strike-rate in ODIs before this knock was a shade over 56, and he is more known for his stodge than his flair. Mutombodzi’s career strike-rate was barely any better.
It seemed that the match would fizzle out when the asking rate peaked above 15 with five overs to go, but Zimbabwe would not go quietly into the night this time and Tiripano sparked an incredible fightback. With Mutombodzi trailing in his wake, 16 runs flowed from the 46th over and 20 from the 47th, the fifty stand being raised in just 4.4 overs.
Suddenly, Bangladesh were the team under pressure, but Shafiul Islam and Hossain then found their range with the yorker to set up a grandstand finish: 20 runs required from the last six balls. After a single and a wide, Zimbabwe once again appeared buried when Mutombodzi holed out to long-on. But Tiripano surged once more with back-to-back sixes, the second of which took him to a maiden ODI fifty. With Zimbabwe hunting six from the last two balls, Hossain was very fortunate to get away with a bouncer that cleared Tiripano’s head by some distance, leaving Zimbabwe needing a miracle from the last ball. In a breathless finish, Hossain held his nerve as Tiripano could only manage a toe-ended single down to long-off.
Things could have been very different had Zimbabwe’s top order held things together, and that was the difference between the two sides: Zimbabwe scored 49 in the Powerplay, losing two wickets, but Bangladesh cruised to 65 in the same period and Tamim Iqbal batted all the way through to the 46th over to set up their innings.
Iqbal spanked 20 fours and three sixes in his knock, which marked a career-best effort for him, and also a record high individual score for Bangladesh in this format. His approach this afternoon stood in contrast to the first ODI. On Sunday, he took his time to settle and struck just one boundary in the first ten. Today, he burst out of the blocks in vintage style, putting Zimbabwe’s seam attack to the sword with 10 rasping fours on either side of the wicket inside the Powerplay.
His aggression meant that the early run-outs of Liton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto barely put a dent in Bangladesh. Indeed, Iqbal’s calling was perhaps his only flaw, and there was more than one moment of indecision in his third wicket stand with Mushfiqur Rahim. But Zimbabwe were not able to capitalise on them and the partnership had reached 87 before Rahim holed out to long-on.
Iqbal shifted through the gears throughout his knock: his first fifty came in just 42 deliveries, his second took 64 as Zimbabwe’s spinners wrested back a modicum of control in the middle of the innings, but then he went on the charge once again to motor from 100 to 150 in just 27 balls. Along the way, he became the first Bangladesh batsman to go past 7,000 runs in ODIs and with his third six he broke his own record for the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in ODIs.
To their credit Zimbabwe’s seamers struck a couple of blows of their own to ensure that Bangladesh couldn’t run completely rampant at the death, but on current form it seemed 322 was already well out of their reach. And when they wobbled early on, it seemed this match would follow the same script as the first ODI.
Tinashe Kamunhukamwe managed to keep Zimbabwe in touching distance with his first ODI fifty, and an 81-run stand between Raza and Wesley Madhevere revived hopes once more. Both batsmen reached fifties of their own – Madhevere’s being his very first in internationals, coming in his second game – but when they fell in quick succession Zimbabwe once again appeared sunk.
Tiripano and Mutombodzi had other ideas. While a fairytale finish was denied to them at the last, Zimbabwe can at least hold their heads high while Bangladesh will go into their third game with the comfort of an unassailable series lead.