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January 10, 2009
Elton Chigumbura's fighting 64 and some disciplined bowling when defending a small total helped Zimbabwe post their first ODI win against a Test-playing nation since November 2007. Bangladesh's efforts centered around Shakib Al Hasan, who took wickets and scored the side's only half-century, and the hosts squandered a winning opportunity after having restricted Zimbabwe to an achievable 205.
Bangladesh got off to an encouraging start. Tamim Iqbal stroked consecutive boundaries off Ed Rainsford in the first over, but the innings proceeded to fall apart. Prosper Utseya shared the new ball, bowling his parsimonious off spin - it had worked against Sri Lanka in Zimbabwe's home series in November - and with his second ball removed Junaid Siddique. The batsman could consider himself a trifle unlucky to be given out lbw while playing forward to a delivery that seemed like missing off.
Mushfiqur Rahim fell to Rainsford in the third over, completely misjudging a ball that nipped back in to clip off stump. Mohammad Ashraful was next in, and he looked fluent in his brief stay at the crease, scoring back-to-back boundaries off Rainsford.
Zimbabwe, however, remained agile on the field and were firmly in control in the 11th over when they dismissed Tamim and Ashraful in the space of three balls. Tamim was run out as Ashraful failed to spot him charging down for a second, and the captain followed two balls later, out to an indiscreet loft off Utseya which was taken by a diving Vusi Sibanda. With the home team reeling at 33 for 4, Shakib and Raqibul Hasan added a fighting 59 before Keith Dabengwa, the left-arm spinner, bowled Raqibul. Dabengwa provided excellent support to Ray Price, who helped tighten Zimbabwe's stranglehold by dismissing Mehrab Hossain jnr five balls later.
Shakib was the lone resistor but was undone by an inspired bowling change by Utseya. Chigumbura, who was the backbone of the Zimbabwe innings, got one to kick off the pitch and Shakib's attempted cut resulted in an outside edge which was pouched comfortably by Tatenda Taibu behind the stumps. Shakib's departure erased any hopes of a Bangladeshi miracle and Zimbabwe - after squandering winning positions in their last three ODIs against Sri Lanka to lose by narrow margins - finally succeeded in shutting down the opposition.
Zimbabwe's efficient effort in the field would not have been enough had it not been for Chigumbura's meaty blows towards the end of their innings to help them cross 200. They had crumbled to the spin of Shakib and Naeem Islam and were struggling at 123 for 6. Stuart Matsikenyeri and Taibu failed to consolidate on strong starts to leave Zimbabwe staring at a paltry score. But Chigumbura, backed well by Price (17 in 16 balls), took his time to see off the spinners before he capitalised on some lacklustre bowling by debutant Mahbubul Alam - he went for 66 in ten wicketless overs - to take his team to a score that, in the end, proved more than adequate.
Bangladesh now have to beat Sri Lanka to entertain any hope of qualifying for the finals.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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