First blood to Bangladesh
Bangladesh won the opening game of the four-match series against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club by 45 runs, although the margin of the victory masks the fact that this was over as a contest long before the end
Bangladesh 260 for 9 (Bashar 78, Hasan 68) beat Zimbabwe 215 (Chibhabha 53, Mortaza 4-31) by 45 runs
Shahriar Nafees hit 34 as Bangladesh reached a match-winning total at Harare
Bangladesh won the opening game of the four-match series against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club by 45 runs, although the margin of the victory masks the fact that this was over as a contest long before the end. It was Zimbabwe's 13th successive one-day defeat and the sixth in a row at the hands of Bangladesh.
Not for the first time, Zimbabwe failed to look all that interested in chasing a score which was stiff but by no means beyond them. It has been a hallmark of their one-day performances in the last year - bat out time rather than go for the runs. In this instance, however, Bangladesh's battery of slow left-armers stifled the Zimbabwe innings so effectively that the rate was well over a run-a-ball before the halfway mark.
The few hundred spectators that bothered to turn up might have asked what game Chamu Chibhabha was playing. While he top scored, so labourious was his 57 that it took 117 balls and put his side terminally behind the clock. His colleagues had no choice to hit out, and most perished in the process, although Elton Chigumbura hit some defiantly lusty blows in the last stages before missing a full toss.
Bangladesh's innings had not gone according to plan either after they had been put in under cloud cover. Habibul Bashar led from the front with 78 and was aided by Saqibul Hasan, who chipped in with 68, as the pair added 105 for the fourth wicket after Bangladesh had slipped to 93 for 3.
Bashar, who began cautiously, struck seven fours in his 13th half-century. He was dropped when on 70 by bowler Gary Brent, but this did not turn out to be expensive. While Zimbabwe's ground fielding was excellent, they spilled there catches, although after Bashar's dismissal, Bangladesh's innings lost its way.
Christopher Mpofu didn't bowl well with the new ball, banging it in too short and being regularly cut. Terry Duffin, returning from injury, did not look fit in the field, and worryingly for Zimbabwe Prosper Utseya also looked out of sorts, his body language wasn't good and neither was his bowling.
Bangladesh used the conditions well, especially the spinners, and Mashrafe Mortaza bowled a good second spell to blow holes in Zimbabwe's middle order. Their fielding left a little to be desired, but it was a good result less than three days after arriving in the country.