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Zimbabwe clinch series
04 Aug 2006
By: Alex Crampton

Another fine performance from Zimbabwe today, and another victory over a Bangladesh they were expected to lose to.

With Bangladesh winning the toss and electing to bat, Zimbabwe put out a tight display in the field to restrict them to 206-9 from their 50 overs. They made an early breakthrough; courtesy of Ed Rainsford. Rajin Saleh was moved up the order to replace out of form Javed Omar, but pushed one tamely to extra cover. Aftab Ahmed had contributed quick cameos in his previous two games and looked to do the same today. He smashed four boundaries in his 27, before picking out a diving Prosper Utseya at midwicket.

Zimbabwe's spinners, Utseya and Hamilton Masakadza, were the keys to their success in the field. After the mix up which led to Mohammad Ashraful's run out, they kept the middle order tied down, and chipped in with two wickets each. Masakadza made the crucial breakthrough, Shahriar Nafees had played well for his steady 45, but missed a straight one to be cleaned up.

Once the spinners had finished their allocated overs, the seamers returned to keep things tight at the death. Bangladesh finished on 206-9, a score that would prove to be comfortably too little.

Perhaps crucially, Zimbabwe got off to a good start in the chase. Vusi Sibanda and Terry Duffin put on 57 for the first wicket, both taking the attack to the opening bowlers. However once Mohammad Rafique and Abdul Razzak were brought on, the Zimbabweans struggled against the spin. Rafique brought an edge behind from Duffin.

With Duffin gone, Greg Strydom treated the crowd to some hard-hit boundaries. He took the lead once Sibanda was bowled, and went on to reach his maiden ODI century. He scored 58 before he was caught at mid-on, shortly after Hamilton Masakadza retired hurt with a nosebleed.

Bangladesh may have had some hope at this point, but it was soon banished by Brendan Taylor and Stuart Matsikinyeri. They shared a partnership of 53 to take Zimbabwe home, and the match was once again sealed by a six from Brendan Taylor.

Bangladesh 206-9
Shahriar Nafees 45, Farhad Reza 30
Prosper Utseya 2-25, Hamilton Masakadza 2-36, Ed Rainsford 2-46

Zimbabwe 212-3
Greg Strydom 58, Vusi Sibanda 46, Brendan Taylor 27*
Farhad Reza 1-19, Mohammad Rafique 1-30

Zimbabwe win by 3 wickets and lead the series 3-1 with one to play

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Prosper Utseya

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