Razzak and Shakib maul Zimbabwe
It was a commanding performance from Bangladesh, marshalled by left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak and captain Shakib Al Hasan as they drew level in the series against Zimbabwe. First up, Razzak's stellar effort of 5 for 29 restricted the visitors to 219 on a grassless track at the Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium while the thunder during the chase was provided by Shakib. He smashed 105 off 69 balls, including 15 boundaries and three sixes, to take Bangladesh home in the 30th over.
Opting to bat on a grassless track, Zimbabwe were given the perfect start by Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha, who put on 59 for the opening wicket. The seamers were taken apart early on as Masakadza set the tone with a flurry of boundaries off Nazmul Hossain and Dolar Mahmud. While Nazmul was smashed for two fours to third man and square leg, Dolar was carted for three boundaries in the next over.
Shakib was forced to bring himself on as early as the fifth over to try put the brakes. And with more slow options in Naeem Islam and Razzak, the move paid off with the run-rate plunging from 7.25 to 5.3. Naeem provided the first breakthrough, removing the dangerous Masakadza with Bangladesh having taken the bowling Powerplay immediately after 10 overs.
The spinners kept the reins on Zimbabwe in the next passage of play, as the visitors managed just 37 in the next 10 overs. A frustrated Chibhabha was stumped off Mohammad Ashraful for 39 off 40 balls. A double blow followed in the very next over, as Razzak castled Brendan Taylor with his first ball and had Charles Coventry caught at slip for a duck four deliveries later.
The responsibility was on Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri to revive the visitors, and they put on 34 for the fifth wicket before Ashraful had Matsikenyeri caught behind for 14. Malcolm Waller began cautiously, but two fours off Nazmul Hossain in the 37th over meant a late charge was on the cards. Zimbabwe needed Taibu to stay till the end but Nazmul had him holing out to Raqibul Hasan at deep midwicket with the batting Powerplay yet to be taken.
Waller ended on 40 - hitting four fours and a six off Ashraful - becoming Razzak's third victim in the 44th over. There was to be no final thrust from the tail, with Shakib and Razzak completing formalities by the 48th over.
The Bangladesh openers began at a blistering pace as Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Sidique tore into the opposition seamers. Tamim set the tone with two delightful fours through deep midwicket and cover in the first over sent down by Kyle Jarvis. Elton Chigumbura was also shown no mercy as the first and fifth balls of the second over disappeared for sixes.
Junaid was playing like a batsmen possessed as he clubbed Jarvis for four fours in the next over. With 43 in three overs, it was turning out to be a riot, but Chigumbura, Zimbabwe's hero from the last match sent Junaid back to the pavilion with a meaningful stare after getting him caught and bowled. The good start was thrown away when Ashraful departed in Chigumbura's next over for 3, and Chamu Chibhabha had Tamim top-edging to mid-off off the first ball of the next over.
At 57 for 3, Shakib and Raqibul Hasan had to take up the responsibility to avoid Bangladesh going down 0-2. The batting Powerplay was taken after 10 overs, but Jarvis met with the same treatment, being hit for a four and six by Shakib off the first two balls. An odd boundary every over triggered off a vital revival phase for Bangladesh.
While Raqibul was more sedate, Shakib was scoring at almost a run-a-ball as the fifty partnership came up in a little more than ten overs. The introduction of spinners failed to turn the tide Zimbabwe's way. Shakib cut loose in Graeme Cremer's third over, hitting three consecutive fours, one off a free hit. There was no stopping him from there on as Price was taken apart in the next over for two fours and a six over long-on. With the seven-plus run-rate, Bangladesh were on course for a quick finish.
Sixteen runs off Chibhabha's seventh over took Shakib to 94, and Bangladesh 12 adrift off victory. Chibhabha's eighth was to be the last of the innings as Shakib got to his fourth ODI hundred with a four to third man and another four sent the crowd into raptures.