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Taylor leads Zimbabwe home
02 Aug 2006
By: Alex Crampton

The standard isn't the highest you'll see, but Bangladesh v Zimbabwe has certainly provided entertainment.

Saturday's opener provided us with Matsikinyeri and Chigumbara's heroics, while it was Brendan Taylor who took centre stage today. He scored an unbeaten 79 off 72 balls, which all but single-handedly guided Zimbabwe to the total.

Chasing 237, Zimbabwe never really looked like they would make it. The openers but on 30 before Vusi Sibanda was given lbw, then Hamilton Masakadza and Terry Duffin shared a partnership of 54. Masakadza was comfortably the quicker scorer, Duffin's 48 was solid but too slow, leaving too much for the middle and lower order to do. He fell to Rajin Saleh, who also claimed Matsikinyeri.

This was where Shahadat Hossain would make his mark. He took a seemingly match winning hat trick to slice through the lower order. Debutant Tafadzwa Mufambisi was his first victim, nicking one behind for 8. A full and fast one beat Chigumbara, and was given lbw, while captain Prosper Utseya edged behind. The score was now 151-7, with Taylor and Tawanda Mupariwa at the crease.

Mupariwa's highest score before this game was 21, but he was able to produce 33 in a partnership of 81 with Taylor. This would take them right through to the final over, which began with Zimbabwe needing 17.

17 from six became 16 from 5 as Mupariwa drove the first ball of Mashrafe Mortaza's over for a single, giving the far more accomplished Taylor the strike. The second ball was a full toss, while Taylor heaved over square leg for a maximum. Mortaza's third ball was better placed; Taylor played it to midwicket but declined a single. Next came a questionable wide, followed by Taylor creaming another full toss over midwicket for four. Mortaza kept it full for the penultimate ball, and luckily for him Taylor miscued it. Mupariwa started to run but slipped after being sent back, and was run out by Rafique.

The run out was largely irrelevant, but Zimbabwe were left needing five off the final ball to win. Yet another full toss from Rafique, and Taylor middled it this time, high and handsome over the fence to give Zimbabwe the victory.

Before any of Taylor's exploits or the Zimbabwe innings, Bangladesh scored 236 to set the lowest target of the series so far. They lost both openers early, but Aftab Ahmed quickly turned the tables. He smashed a brutal cameo of 53 off 39 balls, tearing into the bowling before being bowled by Anthony Ireland.

Rajin Saleh and Mohammad Ashraful then built a solid partnership, but both fell to part-timer Masakadza before they could push on. The rest of the batting line up did little to boost the Bangladeshi total, and they were bowled out in the 49th over. Zimbabwe's spinners were their main threat, Anthony Ireland and Hamilton Masakadza claimed 6-80 off 18 overs between them.

Bangladesh 236 all out
Rajin Saleh 54, Aftab Ahmed 53, Mohammad Ashraful 46
Anothny Ireland 3-41, Hamilton Masakdaza 3-39

Zimbabwe 238-8
Brendan Taylor 79*, Terry Duffin 48
Shahadat Hossain 3-53, Rajin Saleh 2-18

Zimbabwe win by two wickets

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Brendan Taylor

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