Imrul Kayes has missed a century but his 148-run partnership with the other opener Liton Das has helped Bangladesh seal the ODI series over Zimbabwe with a dominating seven-wicket victory at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chattogram yesterday.
Mohammad Mithun applied a devastating finishing touch as, with three runs required, he smashed a six off the first ball of the 45th over to ensure Bangladesh reached the modest 247-run target with 35 balls to spare.
Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 40 and the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman also crossed 10,000 runs across all formats in international cricket during his knock.
Brendon Taylor’s 75-run innings helped the visitors avert embarrassment as the Bangladesh bowlers piled the pressure on Zimbabwe by taking regular wickets at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Wednesday.
Mohammad Saifuddin’s three-for restricted Zimbabwe to 246 and Mohammad Mithun hit a six when the Tigers were three runs away from the victory with 36 balls in hand.
However, opener Imrul Kayes was surely left cursing himself after he missed the opportunity to record back-to-back centuries. He was dismissed on 90 off 111 balls with seven fours. The left-hander went for a big shot off Sikandar Raza’s bowling and was caught at long off when the Tigers required just 35 runs to win.
Liton, who scored a brilliant century after opening Bangladesh’s innings in the Asia Cup final against India last month, is surely not too far behind Kayes in the race for the opening slot with 83 off 77 on Wednesday. He hit 12 fours and one six to make up for Kayes’ slow start.
Sikandar Raza struck first, taking out Liton in the 24th over.
However, among all the positives there was a disappointment for Fazle Rabbi, who was again dismissed for a duck to become only the fourth Bangladesh batsman to be dismissed for a duck in their first two international games.
The left-hander was deceived by the flight of a Raza delivery and came down the track. Wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor, who could not hold the ball properly, still managed to dislodge the bails in time.
Earlier Bangladesh, who took the field with an unchanged side and opted to field with the dew factor in mind, came back well with the ball after Zimbabwe looked set to post a challenging total.
Saifuddin provided the breakthrough in the fifth over when Hamilton Masakadza edged one to Mushfiqur.
The duo struck again to send back Sean Williams in the 38th over after he made 47 off 76 to steady Zimbabwe in a 77-run stand with Taylor.
Part-time bowler Mahmudullah proved helpful again, taking the wicket of dangerman Taylor.
Williams and Taylor then consolidated the innings, the latter reaching his first fifty in six games.
Williams soon became Saifuddin’s second victim after scoring 47. He edged to Mushfiqur, handing the wicketkeeper-batsman his 200th career dismissal.
Sikandar Raza, who started with positive intent, fell one short of his fifty as Zimbabwe lost their way towards the end of their innings.
Skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, and Mustafizur Rahman chipped in with one wicket apiece.