Alan Butcher, the Zimbabwe coach, has said Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak has been the difference between the two sides during the ongoing one-day series. Razzak took 4 for 14 in the third ODI in Mirpur on Monday, helping Bangladesh to a win and a 2-1 lead in the series. He now has 13 wickets in the series and many of them have come in a clutch, early in his spells.
"Razzak is winning matches for them as a bowler," Butcher said. "Our bowlers, though effective, haven't given a match-winning performance, so I think that's the difference.
"It's disappointing that we keep giving him three wickets in two overs. It is as much a technical problem as anything else. Whether it is psychological or that we are not picking him, we have to work on it in the next couple of days."
Razzak, who has taken 53 wickets against Zimbabwe at an average of 15.30, said the conditions were helping him. "I am confident and there's help from the wicket," he said. "These two things are combining and working in my favour."
Bangladesh bowled Zimbabwe out for 181 on Monday and Razzak was supported by the seamers, with Shafiul Islam taking 4 for 43 and Mashrafe Mortaza, who missed the series against New Zealand in October with an ankle injury, taking his first international wicket since July. "The performance of the fast bowlers was the most pleasing part of the match," Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, said. "Mashrafe-bhai's bowling was a big positive. I said before that it would take him a few matches to get back to his old self, so that's what happened today."
Shakib set up the win with his 73 that took Bangladesh to a total of 246, but was out in the batting Powerplay for the second time in the series. "It seems my responsibility is till the Powerplay," he said. "The moment it starts, I'm gone. We should work at it but I don't know what's going on."
In the first match, which Zimbabwe won by nine runs, the batting Powerplay worked against Bangladesh as they lost three wickets for 25. On Monday, they fared much better and scored 46 runs during the restrictions, which were in force for the last five overs. "We didn't take the Powerplay earlier because we don't do well in it," Shakib said. "If we took it earlier, the innings would've been over earlier. I don't think we did too badly [today]; we scored over 40 and anything over 50 is good. We played 10 dot balls in this Powerplay, so if a boundary came off one of those balls, it would have been better."
Shakib said he was happy with the assistance his bowlers got in Mirpur, the venue of the first three games. "Whenever we have bowled in this series, we have got help from the wicket," he said. "We bowled first twice, and today the wicket hardly changed throughout the day. It worked as an advantage for us."
The last two matches of the series will be played in Chittangong, which, along with Mirpur, will host Bangladesh's league games in the 2011 World Cup. If Bangladesh make it past the first round - and their backers think they have a fair chance given their mastery of home conditions - their quarterfinal fixture could also be a home game.