Ashraful leads Tigers home
12 Aug 2006
By: Neil Pickup
Bangladesh overcame a nervy start to their runchase to record a steady six-wicket win in the first of three ODIs in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Following Mashrafe Mortaza's incisive opening burst that dismissed the hosts' top three - Kennedy Otieno and Maurice Ouma fell early before Jimmy Kamande scratched around for 41 painful balls that yielded just five runs.
Steve Tikolo showed his class with 47 runs coming at a run a ball, striking 14 off Farhad Reza's only over, before the Tigers' spinners strangled the Kenyan batting. Abdur Razzaq - who removed Tikolo - and veteran Mohammad Rafique shared 20 overs for 50 as the lower order collapsed around Tanmay Mishra.
The Mumbai-born 19-year-old has only been playing International cricket for six months but already seems like a key part of the Kenyan side, as once again he guided the lower order through the final overs before, like his captain Tikolo, being bowled by Razzaq. The middle order's slothfulness, as Saqibul Hasan aided the spinners' restrictive work, meant Kenya could only muster 168.
It wasn't an inspiring total, but when Aftab Ahmed slashed at Peter Ongondo to follow Shahriar Nafees back to the pavilion to reduce the visitors to 27 for two, the Tigers will have thought back to the collapse-blighted tour of Zimbabwe. It took a steady stand between Rajin Saleh and Saqibul to stem the slide, and despite both batsmen falling, the stage was set for Mohamad Ashraful.
Ashraful wasted no time in taking hold of the Kenyan bowling, slashing ten off his first over from Nehemiah Odhiambo, before adding four more boundaries as he smashed the medium pacer out of the attack. Peter Ongondo came in for similar treatment as the Bangladeshi batsman began to go for almost every ball, as as Reza took a liking to Hiren Varaiya's left arm spin the match swiftly died as a contest, ending with 119 balls to spare. Ashraful ended on 67 not out from just 43 balls, with twelve fours and a six.
The second and third matches of the series take place on Sunday and Tuesday, with the Tigers desperate to complete a clean sweep and partially redeem themselves followng the disastrous defeat in Zimbabwe.
Steve Tikolo 47, Tanmay Mishra 35
Mashrafe Mortaza 3-25, Abdur Razzak 3-31
Mohammad Ashraful 67*, Farhad Reza 34*
Thomas Odoyo 1-23, Nehemiah Odhiambo 1-49
Bangladesh won by six wickets
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