Percival Sizara in CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh
THE gloss was taken off Sean Williams’ unbeaten career best of 129 in 143 deliveries after Zimbabwe ceded the third and final One Day International cricket match to Bangladesh by seven wickets at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium last night.
When it looked like Zimbabwe, 286-5 (50 overs), would end the barren spell, Bangladesh were defiant as they came through to score 288-3 (42,1 overs) in a rapid chase and set up a 3-0 series whitewash.
Williams (10 fours and a six), Brendan Taylor (75 off 73 balls), Sikandar Raza Butt (40) and Peter Moor (28 off 21 balls) pillared the innings to post Zimbabwe’s highest total at ZACS but the Chevrons appear to have missed probably 30-40 runs more.
Whatever Zimbabwe achieved in putting up on the board, Bangladesh doubled it in quick time powered by a 220-run second wicket partnership between centurions Soumya Sarkar (117 off 92 balls) and Imrul Kayes (115 off 112 balls).
Seamer Kyle Jarvis (1-47) had struck gold with the first ball trapping Liton Das lbw with the first delivery and this turned out to be the only hopeful celebration Zimbabwe had for the night.
From there, Bangladesh came charging at the Zimbabwean bowling attack with the baptism of fire never ceasing until the Tigers purred home at close to seven runs per over.
Even the wickets of Sarkar at 220-2 in the 30th over and Kayes at 274-3 in the 40th over brought no joy for the Chevrons whose bowlers failed to hunt down or at least cage the Tigers.
Earlier, Zimbabwe lost the toss for the third time in the series hence didn’t have a choice.
A little bit more that Masakadza wanted, batting through and deep as requested by batting coach Stuart Matsikenyeri is what the majority of Zimbabwe’s top six gave out to make what looked to be a competitive target.
Surely there was an improvement in the way batters went through their business especially at the death where Zimbabwe took 77 runs in addition to being in charge for 37 overs.
The three opening overs belonged to Bangladesh who had Zimbabwe on its knees at 6-2 after removing openers Masakadza (two) and Cephas Zhuwao (three-ball duck); both bowled by Abu Hider (1-39) and Mohammed Saifuddin (1-51) respectively.
It was definitely a frightening start but Taylor and Williams led a tremendous recovery and navigated through the first powerplay that saw Zimbabwe have only 35 runs before taking an aggressive approach that took the Bangladesh bowlers to the sword.
The pair put 132 runs for the third wicket with Zimbabwe’s scoring rate hovering around five run per over in spite of Nazmul Islam (2-58) efforts.
More meaningful partnerships were emerged with Williams and Raza Butt adding 84 runs and then the former with Moor contributing 62 runs more.
All these efforts went in vain as Zimbabwe’s bowling wasn’t tight enough to defend the total for the second successive game that has had the same win margin.
However, Zimbabwe will continue seeking solutions to their shortcomings as they now shift attention to the two-match Test series.
Zimbabwe 286-5 (50 overs): (Sean Williams 129*, Brendan Taylor 75, Sikandar Raza Butt 40; Nazmul Islam 2-58, Abu Hider 1-39, Mohammed Saifuddin 1-51)
Bangladesh 288-3 (42,1 overs): Soumya Sarkar 117, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim 28*; Kyle Jarvis 1-47, Hamilton Masakadza 1-3, Wellington Masakadza 1-71).