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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Imrul, Soumya centuries seal 3-0 sweep

Bangladesh 288 for 3 (Sarkar 117, Kayes 115) beat Zimbabwe 286 for 5 (Williams 129*, Taylor 75) by seven wickets

If there was any doubt lingering about the extent to which Bangladesh have pulled ahead of Zimbabwe, they were swiftly dispelled in the course of a seven-wicket thrashing in the third one-day international. Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar stormed through a record-breaking 220-run stand - Bangladesh's best ever for the second wicket in ODIs - to turn what might have been a stiff chase into an exhibition of power hitting against a defeated attack. Kayes took his run tally in the series to 349 with his 115, the most ever for Bangladesh in a three-match bilateral series and the second best overall, while Soumya repaid the selectors' faith, after they recalled him for this game, with a 92-ball 117 that included six sixes. With Mushfiqur Rahim and Mohammad Mithun seeing Bangladesh home with almost eight overs to spare, Sean Williams' century in the afternoon, and a far more solid batting effort all round from the visitors went entirely in vain. Confronted by two ultra-aggressive batsmen, and a ball made slippery by the evening dew, Zimbabwe disintegrated in the field, and Bangladesh romped to a 3-0 series whitewash.

The second-wicket partnership between the two Bangladeshi left-handers completed a stunning turnaround after Kyle Jarvis had removed Liton Das with the very first ball of the innings as Bangladesh began their pursuit of Zimbabwe's 286 for 5. Indeed, the early dismissal did nothing at all to stem the flow of runs as Soumya and Kayes played their shots regardless to pillage thirteen boundaries inside the opening Powerplay.

Several aerial shots skimmed just past diving fielders, but 20-year old left-arm seamer Richard Ngarava quickly wilted in the onslaught. Jarvis was probing with the new ball when he hit a full length but couldn't find it nearly often enough, and both batsmen threw their hands at the width being generously offered. They rode their luck to bring up the fifty in the seventh over with two edges that brought boundaries to third man.

Kayes was first to his fifty, from 42 balls, and quickly broke the shackles after spin was introduced by heaving Wellington Masakadza over deep square leg for his first six. Soumya brought up his own fifty six overs later, but changed gears thereafter and soon caught up to his partner, passing him in the 80s with two enormous sixes down the ground off Masakadza. Targeting the leg side, he moved to 99 with two fours in Jarvis' sixth over and brought up his second ODI ton from just 82 deliveries - the fourth fastest for Bangladesh in this format.

Bangladesh raced past 200 in the 28th over and Soumya added a fifth and a sixth six off Sikandar Raza as the batting pair threatened to break the record for Bangladesh's biggest ever ODI partnership. That milestone evaded them, Hamilton Masakadza bringing himself on and picking up his first ODI wicket in more than three years when Soumya lofted a catch to long-on, hunting a seventh maximum.

His departure took some of the intensity out of proceedings, but Kayes maintained his concentration to bring up a 99-ball century in the 35th over. This was his second hundred of the series, and his fourth in ODIs, and added to Soumya's effort, this was just the third instance of two Bangladeshi batsmen making centuries in the same ODI.

Bangladesh's twin tons rather overshadowed what had been a career-best effort from Williams in the afternoon. He struck 129 not out and shared fruitful partnerships with Brendan Taylor, Raza and Peter Moor. The 132 runs he shared with Taylor gave Zimbabwe the early advantage, an 84-run stand with Raza kept the score ticking over, while alongside Moor he took charge at the death to add 62 in quick time.

Those stands collectively helped to overcome a decidedly shaky start, with Zimbabwe slipping to 6 for 2 inside three overs. While Williams set down an anchor early on, Taylor led the stand with an array of inventive strokes from the get-go. He reached a 49-ball fifty in the 20th over, and when Mashrafe Mortaza turned to his spinners, both he and Williams immediately looked to use orthodox and reverse sweeps to keep the pressure on.

Taylor eventually played one slog sweep too many against Nazmul Islam to fall for 75, but Williams reached a century, his second in ODIs, in the 44th over, and immediately went past his previous best of 102 with a swipe to the leg side boundary.

In the second ODI, Zimbabwe lost 3 wickets for 19 runs during the final five overs. In this game, the first over in that final block went for 19 all on its own, and Zimbabwe racked up 48. Their batting effort allowed Zimbabwe to set right some of their mistakes from the last match, but they had no answer to an electrifying and utterly dominant display from Bangladesh's top order.

Bangladesh 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0Imrul KayesLiton Das
2nd220Imrul KayesSoumya Sarkar
3rd54Mushfiqur RahimImrul Kayes
4th14Mushfiqur RahimMohammad Mithun