Sibanda and Brent star in victory
Zimbabwe 156 for 2 (Sibanda 93*) beat Bangladesh 153 (Rafique 40, Brent 4-30, Williams 3-23) by eight wickets
This result will provide a much-needed fillip for Zimbabwe as the World Cup approaches, but for anything positive to come from it the upturn in fortunes must continue for the remaining matches. Today, however, it was a rare occasion of Zimbabwe dominance.
"This was a really good and much needed performance, giving us great morale with which to go into the next match," said Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya. "Sibanda was outstanding today, as was Brent. But it was essentially an all-round effort."
Any thoughts Bangladesh had of fighting back after a poor effort with the bat were scotched by an opening stand of 125 between Sibanda and Terry Duffin. While Sibanda took the lead role, Duffin played a familiar style innings, providing stodgy support. His 32 took 83 balls before he was run out backing up with the winning line in sight. Sibanda moved along at an impressive clip, striking nine boundaries plus a pulled six off Shahadat, and was there at the end with Sean Williams for company.
Bangladesh's cause wasn't helped when Mohammad Rafique was forced to leave the field mid-over after a collision with Sibanda. It was Rafique's lower-order hitting which spared their blushes after they'd decided to bat first. He came to the middle with the innings in tatters at 81 for 7.
The top order came and went before the new ball was even scuffed, and then Brent ripped the heart out of the innings with three wickets in two overs to leave Bangladesh 50 for 5. He swung the ball from the off, and grabbed the key man, Habibul Bashar, who dragged the ball into his stumps.
From then on in it was damage limitation, and Rafique hit out as Sean Williams, who finished with 3 for 23, chipped away at the other end. At one stage Brent had figures of 8-2-12-3 before he came in from some tap from Rafique, although he struck a final time when he held a stinging return catch to dismiss him.