Zimbabwe upset the Tigers
29 Jul 2006
By: Neil Pickup
Bangladesh's recent improvement took a stumble backwards at the Harare Sports Club as Stuart Matsikenyeri and Elton Chigumbura masterminded a thrilling run chase to engineer a two-wicket win in the first of five ODIs between International cricket's weakest links.
A brace of early wickets for Tawanda Mupariwa, removing Javed Omar and Aftab Ahmed caught behind, vindicated new Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya's decision to bowl first, before Shahriar Nafees brought his side back into contention.
None of the Bangladeshi middle order were able to stay with their opener, as a series of cameos from Mohammad Ashraful, Habibul Bashar and Alok Kapali ultimately came to nothing more than ninety between them, and when Nafees fell for 78, it looked as if the innings' momentum would die with him.
Fortunately for the visitors, Mohammad Rafique bludgeoned a 29-ball 39, and as Mashrafe Mortaza took seven from the three balls he faced, Bangladesh had edged upwards to a final tally of 246 for seven.
When Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain shared four wickets in the first fifteen overs of the Zimbabwean reply at the cost of just fifty runs, the late rally seemed academic, and when Brendan Taylor was bowled heaving at Rafique the visitors were one wicket away from the tail.
That wicket didn't come for another 20 overs, and when Matsikenyeri's tired hit picked out Mortaza in the the deep, Zimbabwe needed 32 from 29 balls. Chigumbura and skipper Utseya gleaned 27 of them, before the captain was cleaned up by a straight one from Mortaza and Ryan Higgins fell to the next ball to keep the slenderest of hopes alive for the Tigers.
Chigumbura wasn't to let the game slide away, however, and he swatted the first ball of the final over away over midwicket to seal an improbable win. Tomorrow sees a repeat clash, with Bangladesh now under great pressure to bounce back and prove that this was merely an anomaly rather than a regression.
Shahriar Nafees 78, Habibul Bashar 40
Tawanda Mupariwa 4-61, Hamilton Masakadza 2-33
Stuart Matsikenyeri 89, Elton Chigumbura 70*
Mashrafe Mortaza 4-41, Shahadat Hossain 3-34
Zimbabwe won by two wickets
Cricket Web Player of the Match
Elton Chigumbura (Zimbabwe)Discuss this news item in the Cricket Web Forums