Bangladesh v Kenya, 4th ODI, Fatullah March 25, 2006

Saleh ton secures whitewash

Bangladesh 237 for 3 (Saleh 108*, Bashar 64*) beat Kenya 232 for 8 (Tikolo 81, C Obuya 45) by seven wickets
Scorecard



Steve Tikolo stuck an impressive 81, but couldn't prevent Kenya slipping to another defeat © Getty Images
Rajin Saleh's maiden one-day international century powered Bangladesh to a whitewash of their series against Kenya. A commanding stand of 175 with Habibul Bashar hurried them across the line with more than eight overs to spare, despite the loss of three early wickets. Steve Tikolo had earlier provided the ballast for Kenya with an assertive 81 as they posted their highest total of the series.

However, Bangladesh have become more convincing as the four matches have progressed and really strutted their stuff during the run chase. Saleh took his time in the early stages, a situation forced on him by some loose shots from the top order. But he ensured the required rate never spiralled out of control and started to impose himself after 15 overs of consolidation.

Bashar had not reached a half-century for 20 ODI innings, so the chase was at a crucial juncture when he joined Saleh in the 14th over. Bangladesh's two leading strokemakers, Mohammad Ashraful and Aftab Ahmed, had played their shots too early and another quick strike would have left Kenya poised for a face-saving victory. Bashar, though, worked the ball around and with Saleh finding the boundary the Kenyans began to loose their sparkle.

As the result became a formality the main interest revolved around whether Saleh would be able to reach his ton. Bashar gave the strike to his partner and Saleh crossed the milestone shortly before the winning mark. It was only the third ODI century by a Bangladesh batsman, and another important mark of their steady improvement over recent months.

The Bangladesh opening bowlers handed them the advantage as they made the most of early movement after Kenya chose to bat. Runs were coming at less than two-an-over when David Obuya was trapped plumb in front by Mashrafe Mortaza, who had deserved the success after repeatedly beating the batsmen with the new ball.

Tikolo realised that he firstly needed to repair the early damage, but was still quick to latch onto anything off line, twice threading Syed Rasel to the boundary in the same over. Modi was the ideal foil and the pair produced the most significant stand of the innings - 95 in 20 overs. Bangladesh were struggling to make an impression on the experienced pair and Tikolo was just beginning to put his foot in the accelerator when Mohammad Rafique again proved his importance to the team.

Rafique sealed Bangladesh's victory in the third ODI, and here removed both key batsmen. Tikolo was disappointed to be dispatched lbw on the front foot, but replays suggested his stride wasn't as confident as it first appeared and the ball was heading towards middle and leg.

The middle order stuttered and at 164 for 6 the hardwork of Modi and Tikolo was being frittered away. Collins Obuya and Tony Suji played sensibly to add 54 off 40 balls as Kenya crossed the 200-mark. However, despite a promising start from the bowlers, it proved nowhere near enough to trouble Bangladesh, who will have gained important confidence from their impressive performances.

Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo