Mashrafe Mortaza destroyed Kenya as Bangladesh took a clean sweep in the one-day series
Mashrafe Mortaza's career-best figures of 6 for 26 led Bangladesh to a convincing six-wicket win over Kenya to take the series 3-0. Dismissing Kenya for a lowly 118, Bangladesh knocked off the required runs in just 27 overs with Farhad Reza finishing unbeaten on 41, to hand Bangladesh their maiden series victory on foreign soil.
After holding their nerve in Sunday's cliffhanger to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead, it was Mortaza who made the difference between the two sides with a superb spell of economical bowling. Not only was it his first five-wicket haul, but recorded the best figures by a Bangladeshi bowler in one-dayers. He did, though, benefit from the cloudy, overcast conditions and his captain, Khaled Mashud, correctly decided to field. Syed Rasel responded immediately with a full-length inswinger that beat Kennedy Otieno's floundering attempt to play across the line. After one ball, Kenya were 0 for 1.
Maurice Ouma hung around for nearly 45 minutes, clobbering a four in his 14 and putting on a stabilising 35 for the second wicket with Malhar Patel before Mohammad Rafique crept one through his defences. It was the introduction of Mortaza, however, which turned the match Bangladesh's way as he cut a swathe through Kenya's middle-order, also snaffling the prize wicket of their captain, Steve Tikolo, for just 14.
Tikolo was threatening to break free, too, lofting Mortaza over the covers for a confident four. But his poise got the better of him as Mortaza's next delivery, angling down the legside, was lazily mistimed to midwicket. It was perhaps a stroke of fortune for Mortaza and he received a further slice of luck when Collins Obuya was adjudged lbw by the umpire, Krishna Hariharan; replays suggested otherwise but, by now, Mortaza was on a roll.
With his side capitulating, Thomas Odoyo rightly went on the attack, slog-sweeping Saqibul Hasan over midwicket for a huge six, one of just two in the innings. And while Odoyo cleverly picked up singles to rotate the strike, something his team-mates failed to do, Mortaza enticed him into an injudicious drive, edging it to the wicketkeeper Mashud to hand the bowler his sixth wicket. It was a brilliant spell from Mortaza, bowling his 10 overs and conceding just 26 runs.
Bangladesh set off in pursuit of 119 in a hurry with Shahriar Nafees belting four fours in his 18, but Thomas Odoyo removed him to begin a mini-slide. From 38 without loss Bangladesh slipped to 55 for 4. Peter Ongondo took two quick wickets and produced a cracking delivery to remove Mohammad Ashraful, jagging away and rising awkwardly to take the outside edge and hand Steve Tikolo his second comfortable catch at second slip.
However, it was too little, too late. Saqibul Hasan and, in particular Reza, batted aggressively for his unbeaten 41 from 48 balls, clobbering seven fours and a six as Bangladesh sailed home with 23 overs to spare.