Zimbabwe - Bangladesh one day series review
For the first time since attaining Test status in 1992, Zimbabwe went into a series as favourites and under pressure to win every match as they hosted Bangladesh, newcomers to the world of Test cricket.
Bangladesh, who attained Test status in June last year, were on their first away tour and were more concerned with improving their game than winning. At the end of the month-long tour Bangladesh had lost all its matches against Zimbabwe. However the tourists were far from being disgraced.
In Zimbabwe for two Tests and three one-day internationals, Bangladesh opened their tour with a one-day warm-up match against CFX Academy at Alexandra Sports Club, and as expected they won convincingly.
The tourists won by seven wickets with 17.4 overs to spare. Batting first, Zimbabwe's cricket cadets were dismissed for 183 in 48.5 overs. New boy Mohammad Sharif was the toast of the Bangladeshi attack with five wickets for 30 in nine overs.
CFX Academy's only defiant acts came from Terrence Duffin who scored 55 and Barney Rogers who hit five fours on his way to 46 from 69 balls. The two featured in a 84-run partnership for the third wicket after the first two wickets fell for 18.
Six of the Academy batsmen were out for single figures with three ducks. The last five wickets fell for just 15 runs in five overs.
Habibul Bashar scored a blistering 79 off 77 balls with nine fours as the CFX Academy struggled to find a breakthrough.
Zimbabwe won the first ODI at Harare Sports Club on 7 April by seven wickets. The tourists won the toss and decided to bat on a pitch that favoured seamers with extra bounce and they were made to pay.
The first four wickets fell for just 15 runs, virtually ending the match as a contest. Bangladesh recovered somewhat to reach 151 in 50 overs, with a top score of 35 coming from sixth-man Akram Khan. Those before him had gone for single figures.
Zimbabwe reached the victory target of 152 virtually Blindfolded, but they still needed 43.1 overs to do so. Andy Flower, unbeaten, and Stuart Carlisle were the joint top scorers with 40 runs. Sharif claimed his first international wicket, bowling Alistair Campbell for five.
The second match was at the same venue the following day and again Bangladesh won the toss but this time they were much wiser and elected to field. Unfortunately for the tourists, the pitch was closer cut than the previous day and this was of some help to the batting.
Led by a seventh ODI century by Campbell, Zimbabwe were 230 for seven after 50 overs. Campbell made 103 from 145 balls and featured in a 133-run partnership for the second wicket with Carlisle.
Zimbabwe lost the last five wickets for 42 runs as batsmen sacrificed everything to increase the run-rate. Monjurul Islam and Sharif took three wickets each.
Bangladesh's reply was rocked right from the start as they lost their first wicket after scoring just one run and the second with the total on nine. In the end they just managed to get past their lowest total against Zimbabwe of 92 and were all out for 103 with 18.2 overs to spare. Opener Javed Omar carried his bat through the innings for an unbeaten score of 33.
David Mutendera recorded the best innings bowling of the ODI series with three wickets for 23 in 5.4 overs.
Zimbabwe duly wrapped up their ODI series with a third straight win at Bulawayo's Queens Sports Club on 11 April for a 3-0 series whitewash.
Flower brothers Grant and Andy led Zimbabwe to their Fourth-highest innings total of 308. The brothers made a fourth-wicket partnership of 148 with Grant's unbeaten 142 equalling Zimbabwe's previous best by Dave Houghton against New Zealand in the World Cup of 1987/88. Andy scored 81 runs off 91 balls.
This turned out to be the most entertaining match of the series as Bangladesh staged a fightback which, however, fell 32 runs short.
Bangladesh made 272 for eight in 50 overs. Opener Javed Omar scored 69 while Bashar was their highest scorer With 74 runs from 91 balls.
Omar finished the series as Bangladesh's best batsman with an average of 52.50, while Bashar was next best, averaging a distant 26.33. Islam and Sharif were the leading bowlers with five and four wickets respectively.
For Zimbabwe, Grant Flower was the best batsman with 174 runs, his average from the two innings he batted. Carlisle and Andy Flower were the other successful batsmen, averaging over 50 with 69 and 63.50 respectively.
In bowling, Mutendera, Brian Strang and Andy Blignaut all took six wickets.