Hondo treble sets up Zimbabwe's victory
Zimbabwe 251 for 8 (Taylor 58, Masakadza 54, Chigumbura 41) beat Bangladesh 229 (Saleh 40, Ashraful 42, Hondo 3-36) by 22 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Zimbabwe picked up their first win of the tour when they overcame Bangladesh by 22 runs in the first one-day international at Dhaka, thanks to an impressive allround team effort. The victory was particularly sweet for Zimbabwe's young side as it ended a 17-match losing streak, and also came as a relief after their defeat in the Test series.
Zimbabwe's batsmen posted a competitive total of 251 for 8, with contributions all the way down the order, and then the bowlers first stifled the Bangladeshi scoring rate and then initiated a middle-order crisis. There was no comeback under the lights, despite some late enterprise from the tail.
Douglas Hondo, whose first five overs had gone for 21 runs, came back for a decisive second spell, breaking the Bangladesh backbone with three wickets for 15 in his next five. And Prosper Utseya, the 19-year-old offspinner getting his first game after missing the Tests, created all sorts of problems with his accuracy. Runs dried up, and between the 25th and 44th overs, not a single boundary was scored, just to emphasise the control the bowlers had exerted over Bangladesh's batsmen.
Zimbabwe where helped along by some rash shots, starting with the opener Nafis Iqbal. Coming off his match-saving 121 in the second Test just two days ago, Iqbal made only 12 here before charging Tinashe Panyangara. His away-from-the-body swipe took a top edge, and Hondo took the catch at mid-off (34 for 1). That rush of blood was out of the blue - and unnecessary, since runs were coming at the asking rate of five an over at the time.
Rajin Saleh, the other opener, was going about his business in some style. He hit Hondo for three fours, driving through the line and cutting, but fell to another inexplicable shot. From the first ball of the 14th over, from Chris Mpofu, Saleh was dropped by Dion Ebrahim at point. Instead of making Zimbabwe suffer for the letoff, from the last ball of the same over Saleh tried clear midwicket, didn't time it properly and was caught at mid-on by Stuart Matsikenyeri (70 for 2).
Bangladesh's captain Habibul Bashar and Mohammad Ashraful then consolidated after edgy starts. Bashar had a life on 9, when Matsikenyeri flung himself forward at wide mid-on but could not hold on to Bashar's uppish drive. And Matsikenyeri was again at fault when he grassed Ashraful off his own bowling when he had made only 4.
Bashar had reached 39 from 54 balls before, in an attempt to up the tempo, he reached for a wide one outside off and ended up giving a catch to backward point (119 for 3) after putting on 49 with Ashraful. That was in the 27th over, and three overs later Aftab Ahmed tried to hit Hondo past mid-off, where Barney Rogers dived to his right and pulled off an excellent catch.
Alok Kapali came and went as Hondo induced an edge to the keeper, while Khaled Mashud was also snapped up by Hondo to leave Bangladesh tottering at 143 for 6 in the 36th over. It got even worse for Bangladesh when Ashraful, after an uncharacteristically laborious 41 - it took him 73 balls - holed out in the deep off Utseya (165 for 7).
The veteran allrounder Khaled Mahmud (34 off 30 balls) and Tapash Baisya (33 not out off 24) led a last-ditch fightback - but once Mahmud was run out after backing up too far (207 for 8), Zimbabwe could breathe more easily. Baisya kept up the interest, clouting a six and a four off Utseya's last over, but he could only watch as the last man Nazmul Hossain became the second run-out victim of the innings. There was drama towards the end when Elton Chigumbura was penalised for bowling two balls above waist-height and was not allowed to finish the 48th over, which was completed by Mpofu.
Zimbabwe's innings earlier on a superb batting pitch was marked by half-centuries from Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza, plus some useful late hitting from Chigumbura, whose 41 from 32 balls propped up the innings.
Taibu won a good toss and not surprisingly decided to bat first. But Zimbabwe got off to a jittery start when Rogers tried to force the first ball of the second over towards midwicket, but played too early and offered Nazmul a return catch (3 for 1). Next over, Baisya trapped Ebrahim lbw (14 for 2).
But Matsikenyeri and Masakadza counterattacked with an entertaining 80-run partnership to get Zimbabwe back on track. Masakadza clobbered the left-arm spinner Abdur Razzaq for 14 in his first over on his return to international cricket. Mahmud then provided the breakthrough, by sneaking one through Matsikenyeri's defence. It was Mahmud's 61st wicket in ODIs, taking him past Mohammad Rafique as the leading wicket-taker in one-day cricket for Bangladesh.
Masakadza, who hit ten fours on the way to a classy half-century off 47 balls, could add only four runs from the next 16 before playing across one pitched on off from Mahmud, and dragging it back onto his stumps (107 for 4).
Taibu and the impressive Taylor steadied the innings, and put together another fifty partnership, off 65 balls, but an unfortunate mix-up between the two ended the stand, with Taibu run out for 28. Taylor (58) showed good improvisation as he went over the infield a couple of times and also used his feet with assurance. But he was guilty of throwing it all away with more than eight overs to go, when he attempted to reverse-sweep Rajin Saleh and was bowled (188 for 6).
Chigumbura then gave the tourists the thrust they needed, and threw his bat around in a breezy knock, which included the first six of the match, off Razzaq. Zimbabwe eventual total of 251 proved to be just enough.
The second game in the five-match series is to be played at Chittagong on Monday (Jan 24).
Rabeed Imam is a sports writer for the Daily Star in Dhaka.