Bangladesh scamper home by three wickets
Bangladesh 197 for 7 (Bashar 32*, Hossain 45, Brent 4-22) beat Zimbabwe 193 for 8 (Matsikenyeri 75, Mortaza 3-36) by three wickets
After a sequence of one-sided games, the fifth and final one-dayer at Dhaka went down to the wire as Bangladesh scampered home by three wickets against Zimbabwe, sweeping the series 5-0.
Chasing a modest 194, Bangladesh were coasting to victory before a middle-order collapse, orchestrated by Gary Brent, pegged them back. Habibul Bashar, the captain, repeated what Inzamam-ul-Haq did earlier this week against West Indies, marshalling the lower-order and setting a good example with an ice-cool unbeaten 32 to steer Bangladesh home in difficult circumstances.
After having restricted Zimbabwe to 193 for 8 thanks to another disciplined bowling performance, the Bangladesh openers, Shahriar Nafees and and Mehrab Hossain Jnr got off to a sound start. They added 86 as the pace bowlers, particularly Elton Chigumbura, came in for some stick.
With no breakthrough in sight, captain Prosper Utseya switched to the military medium pace of Gary Brent and the tactic worked as he picked up two wickets in his second over. It appeared that the wicket suddenly changed in character as both Nafees and Aftab were trapped in front by deliveries that kept low. Brent then captured the wickets of Mohammad Ashraful and Mehrab Hossain in similar fashion, and Zimbabwe were right back into the contest, having also managed to put a stranglehold on the scoring rate.
Bashar and Saqibul Hasan then resurrected the chase, adding a valuable 25 for the fifth wicket. However, a farcical run out in the 39th over pegged Bangladesh back again. Hasan attempted a tentative second run off an overthrow and fell short of the crease at the batsmen's end, throwing the game wide open. Brent was back in business two overs later as he pouched a difficult chance at mid-on to send back Mashrafe Mortaza. Farhad Reza was the second run-out victim in the innings and Zimbabwe sensed a rare consolation win. Bashar kept his cool and along with Mushfiqur Rahim, brought in for this match, the pair guided Bangladesh home with an over to spare.
Earlier, opener Stuart Matsikenyeri, who top-scored with 75, was the only Zimbabwe batsman to offer some resistance as the rest faltered yet again. Put into bat, Zimbabwe got off to a steady start, as Matsikenyeri and Chamu Chibhabha added 63 for the second wicket after debutant Tino Mowoyo fell in the eighth over. Matsikenyeri and Chigumbura took the score to 138 in the 25th over, but the dismissal of Chigumbura, caught behind by Mushfiqur Rahim off Mehrab Hossain, sparked a collapse.
Matsikenyeri, well set to record his first century in one-dayers, fell for 75 soon after, giving Hossain his second wicket. Fast bowler Mortaza returned to take the last three wickets in a lively spell at the death. He finished with 3 for 36 while left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, Bangladesh's most effective bowler in the series, did his bit in the middle overs with an economical spell of 1 for 27 off his quota of ten overs.