After two famous run chases, Zimbabwe finally got one wrong in the third and final ODI against Bangladesh and went down by 105 runs at Harare Sports Club, Harare on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe took the ODI series 2-1. Bangladesh bowlers finally showed some determination in the just-concluded ODI series.
For Bangladesh, it was a bittersweet finish too. They wrapped up the tour with an impressive performance but it doesn’t hide the fact that they lost both the T20I and ODI series on the tour, drawing sharp criticism from the fans and board alike. Their performance on Wednesday, however, deserved anything but.
Defending what was a decent target on a fresh surface, Bangladesh got off to the best of starts as Hasan Mahmud trapped Takudzwanashe Kaitano with the fifth ball of the innings. In the next over, Mehidy Hasan Miraz followed up with the wicket of Tadiwanashe Marumani that had Zimbabwe reeling at 7/2. It soon became 18/4 when Ebadot Hossain picked the wickets of Wesley Madhevere and in-form batter Sikandar Raza with consecutive deliveries. Raza, who scored unbeaten match-winning hundreds in the first two ODIs, got a first-ball duck this time.
With Raza gone, Taijul Islam and Mustafizur Rahman sliced through the middle order, picking between them the next four wickets to fall. The visitors, however, were caught unaware by the 68-run stand for the tenth wicket between Richard Ngarava 34* off 27 and Victor Nyauchi 26 off 31. Both the batters counterattacked from their ends, making Bangladesh huff and puff for about 10 overs to get the elusive final wicket and the win.
Earlier, Anamul Haque and Afif Hossain smashed fifty as Bangladesh set a 257-run target for Zimbabwe.
Afif stepped up with vital boundaries in the death overs, scoring an unbeaten 81-ball 85, while Bijoy maintained his fine form with a 71-ball 76, but the Tigers were still left wanting, posting a below-par 256 for nine on a good batting pitch in Harare.
Despite losing batting partners at an alarming rate, Afif was able to deliver some key blows late in the game to boost Bangladesh’s cause. During his unbroken innings, the young left-hander hit six boundaries and two maximums.
Mahmudullah, who has recently been chastised for his poor scoring rate, has scored at the lowest strike rate among Bangladeshi batters 56.52. The batter walking back for a slow 39 off 69 balls.
Also, just when Bangladesh needed to ramp up the run rate, Mahmudullah fell in the 35th over by dragging a Richard Ngarava delivery against his stumps.
His dismissal ended a 49-run stand with Afif Hossain, leaving the Tigers needing to rebuild from five for 173 with roughly 15 overs remaining in the innings.
Following Mahmudullah’s departure, Mehedi Hasan Miraz and Afif shared a 33-run stand, but the Mehedi’s 24-ball 14, with a strike rate of only 58.33, was never enough to witness a jump in the scoring rate in the death overs. Jongwe and Brad Evans took two wickets each for Zimbabwe.