Bangladesh open account despite Taylor ton
Bangladesh 203 for 4 (Tamim 61, Shakib 39*) beat Zimbabwe 199 (Taylor 106, Rubel 4-31) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Brendan Taylor ended his poor run of scores in this series with a century full of conviction and responsibility, bailing Zimbabwe out of trouble only to watch his side slide back into it and collapse to a comprehensive defeat. He was deprived of his top and middle-order partners thanks to some excellent fielding and smart wicketkeeping, but overcame the declining scoring-rate wrought by the spinners with a positive approach that freed a stifled Zimbabwe innings. However, Rubel Hossain returned in the batting Powerplay to wrest control as the hosts botched up an attempt to step up the scoring rate, losing their last six wickets for 16. Tamim Iqbal then sparkled in the chase to set up his team's first win on what had so far been a disappointing tour.
The fluent approach of fellow opener Vusi Sibanda rubbed off on Taylor, enabling the pair to set up a solid partnership. Rubel Hossain doled out a couple of freebies in his first over that Sibanda duly dispatched, and Taylor joined in, driving Shafiul Islam imperiously down the ground and clearing the in-field twice off the same bowler, over square leg and point. Sibanda's threatening innings ended when he was sucked in by a teasing outswinger from Shafiul; it marked the beginning of the Zimbabwean slide and undermined an encouraging start.
The Bangladesh spinners are not known to produce vicious turn but are quite effective with their variations in length, and capitalised once the openers were separated. They gave the ball plenty of flight and were helped by a hint of turn. While Taylor handled them expertly, sweeping, cutting and working the ball around, they produced plenty of uncertainty in the others. Hamilton Masakadza played out five deliveries before chasing one down the leg side; Mushfiqur Rahim collected and appealed vociferously and the umpire bought it, though there was plenty of doubt as to whether the batsman nicked it. Tatenda Taibu was run out brilliantly, Nasir Hossain diving full length to his left at extra cover and returning an accurate throw amid a mountain of confusion in the middle of the pitch. Shakib Al Hasan then dislodged Forster Mutizwa while Taylor could only watch.
Forty for no loss became 89 for 4, but Taylor and Elton Chigumbura ensured there was no stagnation. Though the spin trio of Abdur Razzak, Mahmudullah and Shakib were accurate for the most part, there were the occasional horrific long hops that the pair seized upon. They ran well between the wickets and batted with measured positivity to retain enough ammunition for an explosion at the death. There was a powerful six from Taylor off Nasir over long-on and a steady accumulation that brought up his fourth ODI century before the decision to take the batting Powerplay was made at the start of the 44th over. What transpired was decisive.
Chigumbura had batted with uncharacteristic restraint because the situation demanded it, but that approach was shunned when the Powerplay was taken. Just as Rubel was brought back into the attack, he tried to take advantage of the field restrictions but holed out to deep midwicket. It should have prompted Taylor to tone down slightly but he erred by trying to chip Rubel into the leg side with a long-on in place, and was caught.
Those dismissals triggered a fall that was interrupted, only briefly, by a couple of meaty shots by Malcolm Waller. In Rubel's next over, Waller was out hit-wicket when his bat scraped the stumps as he tried to fend a short ball away and Ray Price was caught superbly by Mushfiqur, who stretched all the way to his right to take a low chance. It wasn't long before the rest of the tail disappeared.
It seemed the visitors were intent on making a statement by approaching a target of 200 with absolute aggression from the outset, following defeat in a series they would have expected to win. Imrul Kayes, dropped off his third ball, smashed a massive six over long-on in the first over. Tamim stroked two imperious fours off Kyle Jarvis, who wasn't spared by Kayes either; he was taken for five fours and six in his first two overs that yielded 30.
Junaid Siddique played a brief attacking cameo and fell, but Tamim looked good to stay for the long haul, scoring at a brisk pace with few risks. He was especially harsh on Prosper Utseya, punching him twice to the cover boundary and through midwicket and past long-on. With the enterprising Mushfiqur at the other end, the running between the wickets improved markedly and the scoring-rate was well under control. But there was a minor hiccup. Shortly after notching up his 3000th ODI-run, Tamim was trapped in front by Price while playing the sweep and Mushfiqur followed, spooning a catch off a slower ball.
At 129 for 4, Zimbabwe were still in with a chance but the experienced Shakib and the novice Shuvagoto Hom batted maturely to seal the chase. Shuvagoto took the lead initially, employing the slog-sweep against Price. There was no respite for Utseya despite the dismissal of Tamim, as Shuvagoto lofted him over the in-field. Shakib took on the seamer Chris Mpofu at the other end in a well-paced, unbeaten half-century stand that won some pride back for the struggling visitors.
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo