Zimbabwe make it 2-0

Zimbabwe 237 for 5 (Rogers 66, Taibu 64) beat Bangladesh 205 (Iqbal 58) by 32 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Zimbabwe posted yet another whole-hearted performance to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series against Bangladesh, as they pipped them by 32 runs at Chittagong, after setting a target of 238 for victory.

The victory was set up by a scintillating unconquered 84-run stand from just 55 balls between Tatenda Taibu and Elton Chigumbura, which rescued the tourists and lifted them to 237 for 5 after they were struggling on 144 for 4 in the first 40 overs after choosing to bat.

The target was never going to be easy for Bangladesh on a low and slow pitch where the ball was not coming on to the bat. But the opener Nafis Iqbal and the captain Habibul Bashar comfortably put on 90 for the third wicket, and raised hopes of victory before both departed in successive deliveries (130 for 4), before the last eight Bangladesh wickets crumbled under pressure for the addition of only 75 runs.

Barney Rogers - who was Zimbabwe's top-scorer with 68 - effected a run-out, and he took two wickets with his part-time spin. It was a matchwinning contribution. Prosper Utseya, the offspinner, also delivered: he again bowled a tight ten overs and never allowed the middle order to accelerate.

Chris Mpofu had given Zimbabwe the first breakthrough, when Rajin Saleh failed to get the desired elevation on a pull, and the substitute Vusi Sibanda plucked the ball above his head (13 for 1). Sibanda fielded for the entire innings in place of Chigumbura, who was confined to the dressing-room after being hit by a couple of toe crushers from fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza while batting.

Aftab Ahmed came in and hit three fours straight away to announce his intentions. But Tinashe Panyangara got one to bounce a bit more, to take Aftab's edge through to Taibu, leaving Bangladesh on 40 for 2.

Iqbal and Bashar then played sensibly, picking up singles from every other ball and getting the odd boundary in between. Iqbal made 58 - his first half-century in ODIs - by flicking away balls off his legs with authority and punishing any width with late and square cuts. Bashar appeared focussed on staying at the wicket, and he concentrated on the ones and twos. His first four came from the 50th ball he faced, but he was keeping the scoreboard ticking over all the time.

However, in the 29th over disaster struck. Iqbal sent his captain back as Bashar (44) wanted a quick run off the fifth ball. Rogers knocked the stumps down from cover with a direct throw, with Bashar short of his crease (130 for 3). Perhaps still rattled by losing his partner, Iqbal attempted a loose defensive shot off the next ball, missed it, and was lbw.

Mohammad Ashraful and Manjural Islam Rana tried to repair the damage with a 30-run stand, but the asking rate kept going up. Rana (16) finally decided to go over the top to Rogers, but he managed only to find Hamilton Masakadza at long-on. Rogers then had Khaled Mahmud caught in two minds as he offered a simple return catch (161 for 6). An out-of-touch Ashraful hung around purposelessly for 31 balls, making 13 before holing out at widish long-on.

Khaled Mashud and Mortaza tried their best but, by then, Zimbabwe had a firm grip on the match. Bangladesh still needed 33 runs from three overs when their last man Enamul Haque was run out by another direct throw - this time from Sibanda - as he tried to give the strike back to Mashud.

Bangladesh's spinners had kept the Zimbabwean batsmen in check before Chigumbura broke the shackles by clobbering Saleh for two consecutive straight sixes in the 45th over. Taibu then joined the fun and flayed Mortaza for a couple of huge sixes too. Mortaza's first spell of six overs had gone for just nine runs, but in his next three he was pounded for 32.

Chigumbura (30 off 22 balls) gave Zimbabwe a boost - as he had done in the first game at Dhaka - in the closing overs, while Taibu added to his reputation as an unshakeable customer with his 64.

But Bangladesh had done a good job in the initial part of the innings, after the perfect start with a wicket from the very first ball. Stuart Matsikenyeri took strike from Mortaza - one of three changes from the first game - and set off for a quick single. But Aftab rushed to the ball from midwicket and - with his body suspended in mid-air - he threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end.

Rogers bisected the cover region with powerful drives off Tapash Baisya, but he got bogged down as Dion Ebrahim, at No. 3, struggled to get a move on. Ebrahim was finally relieved of his misery at 26 (59 balls), when he went for a sweep against Mahmud and the top edge flew straight to Enamul at backward square leg (86 for 2).

Enamul, making his ODI debut, took just 12 balls to strike. The dangerous Hamilton Masakadza had just come in, and was beaten by one that turned away. Mashud took the bails off in a flash, and TV replays confirmed that Masakadza's right boot was in the air at the vital moment (90 for 3). Nine runs later Enamul caught Rogers, diving low to his right off his own bowling.

Taibu and Taylor repaired the innings, sharing 54 for the fifth wicket in dour fashion before Taylor was caught at short fine leg as he tried to up the tempo. For Bangladesh, Enamul gave another impressive performance, conceding just 37 from his ten overs.

The third ODI will be played at Chittagong on Wednesday.

Rabeed Imam is a sports writer for the Daily Star in Dhaka.