Zimbabwe whitewash hosts in one-day series
Zimbabwe secured a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh today to win all three matches in the Coca-Cola one-day series. The tourists had to wait until the last over to see the winning run that from Wishart's bat, and some credit should go to the Bangladeshi bowlers. Responding to Bangladesh's 215 all out, Zimbabwe reached the target losing only three of their batsmen, and with five balls still in hand.
In such a batting paradise the decision to bat first is a wise one without a shred of doubt, but Bangladesh failed to capitalise. When Javed Omar Belim and Al-Sahariar put on 103 runs in their opening stand, everybody was expecting a commendable total. Both batsmen looked confident against the formidable Zimbabwe pace attack and scored runs comfortably. They batted with caution blended with occasional aggression.
Javed Belim went for power shots, reaching his fourth ODI fifty and second against Zimbabwe. The diminutive right-hander scored more quickly than his partner, sending the ball six times through the fence and notching up his fifty in exactly 50 balls. Finally Paul Strang clean bowled him at 54.
Al-Sahariar was probably looking for a big innings, but his partners Asraful and Habibul Bashar departed early. Bashar, the most successful batsman in both versions throughout the series, attempted an ambitious shot and was clean bowled leaving Bangladesh uneasy at 143 for 3.
The game then became excruciating for the host supporters as no batsman from the middle order could hang about against a commonplace spin attack. Al-Sahariar lost his patience, going for a big shot off Grant Flower after scoring 59 with six boundaries. The next five wickets added only thirty runs to the total.
Mashrafe and Sharif, the opening bowling pair for Bangladesh, added 29 runs for the final wicket that helped them to reach two hundred. The hosts were all out with 215 on the board. Heath Streak polished off the middle order taking 3 for 26. Marillier and Grant Flower took two wickets each.
The two openers Grant Flower and Dion Ebrahim started patiently, particularly Grant who is one of his team's hardest hitters. Ebrahim attacked the ordinary host attacks with flair. He was scoring most of the runs but Grant began to show his true colours from the 15th over, especially when he was gifted with a life. He lifted Enamul to deep mid-wicket where Sharif floored the catch. Flower celebrated by hammering a massive six, taking 16 runs from Enamul's over.
Zimbabwe then lost their first wicket, the precious one of Grant Flower who was looking dangerous. Sanwar Hossain took the catch at mid-wicket when the batsman tried to lift Enamul again. Grant made 40 that included 5 fours and a huge six. Ebrahim was chipping in with drives, pulls and square cuts all around the ground.
Enamul Haque got his second wicket, finally dismissing Dion Ebrahim who offered a catch to Habibul Bashar at mid-wicket. Ebrahim had made 84, including 11 attractive boundaries. Some tight bowling and fiery fielding from the Bangladeshis stopped the flow of runs. The Zimbabweans clung to their creases stubbornly, wanting to keep wickets at hand.
They needed 16 runs from the last 24 balls, with Carlisle and Andy Flower batting. When Flower was run out at the hands of Mashrafe, the bowler, Zimbabwe were still six runs off their target with 10 balls to spare. Craig Wishart then hit Fahim through mid-wicket to score the winning run. Carlisle remained not out at the other end with 55.
Dion Ebrahim took the man-of-the-match and the man-of-the-series trophies.