Bangladesh secure series

On a day dominated by frankly more important things in world cricket, another dismal performance from Zimbabwe saw them slump to 3-0 down in the ODI series against Bangladesh with two to play.

With the pitch aiding bowlers, Prosper Utseya but the home side into bat. He quickly looked to the wrong decision, as Shahriar Nafees and Mehrab Hossain raced to 64 in ten overs. The Zimbabwean bowlers failed to take advantage of conditions, and were duly punished.

Nafees was unable to build on his brief 35 though, after he was brilliantly caught by Gary Brent at leg gully. Aftab Ahmed played a typically short, swashbuckling cameo at number three, before skewing a sweep high to short fine leg.

With the two main attacking threats gone, Zimbabwe’s spinners tied down the batsmen. Overs 21-30 yielded just 25 runs, and Chris Mpofu returned after a poor new-ball spell to remove Hossain and Habibul Bashar. For the rest of the innings, Zimbabwe performed relatively well. They kept things tight for the most part, and were sharper in the field. This helped to keep Bangladesh’s score down, but Mashrafe Mortaza’s late cameo boosted them to 220.

When Zimbabwe came to bat, it seemed to be the same old story again. The pace bowlers made early breakthroughs in the form of Shahadat Hossain’s double strike, then the spinners came on to stifle runs and break down the middle order, preying on batsmen inexperienced on turning pitches. The star bowler for Bangladesh today was Abdur Razzak, who has been bowling very well in recent weeks.

He took two wickets in his first over – just the tenth of the innings. Then came some resistance from Zimbabwe. Sean Williams scored his second consecutive ODI half-century, while Elton Chigumbura and Keith Dabengwa both added 31.

Just as Zimbabwe had hopes of winning the match, Razzak returned, partnered by Mashrafe Mortaza. Between them, they took the remaining six wickets as the Zimbabwe tail had no answer to them. The eventual margin of victory was 26 runs, and the 3-0 series deficit means Zimbabwe will be playing for nothing but pride in the next two matches.

Bangladesh 220 all out
Mehrab Hossain 38, Mohammad Ashraful 36, Shahriar Nafees 35
Chris Mpofu 4-42, Keith Dabengwa 3-19

Bangladesh won by 26 runs

Zimbabwe 194 all out
Sean Williams 68
Abdur Razzak 5-33, Mashrafe Mortaza 3-34

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