Bangladesh came out on top by making fewer mistakes, and ended up crushing Zimbabwe by 121 runs. The home side fell into a sink-hole of wickets in the middle order, from which they never recovered.
The material differences between the two teams were Nasir Hossain’s timely 68, which rescued Bangladesh from their own middle-order implosion, and Ziaur Rahman’s five wickets, which damaged the Zimbabwe middle-order badly. It also helped Rahman bring down his bowling average.
It was Brendan Taylor’s dismissal for 33 that saw the home side slip from 78 for two in the 15th over to 148 all out in 32.1 overs.
Taylor had his offstump rattled by Razzak after batting confidently for 37 deliveries. After a short partnership, Sean Williams was run out after some hesitation with his partner Hamilton Masakadza, who fell for a promising 38 soon after. He was Ziaur Rahman’s first wicket of the day, before the Bangladesh bowler dismissed Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya in quick succession.
Chigumbura played a slog off his third ball, while Mominul Haque took a catch to remove Utseya for a duck. Television replays of Utseya’s dismissal weren’t conclusive as the umpires went to the third-umpire for a decision.
This was the worst period of play for Zimbabwe’s batting as they lost 5 wickets for 15 runs in 39 balls. The last four of these wickets fell on 93, as Bangladesh took control of the game. Malcolm Waller and Shingi Masakadza added 55 runs for the eighth wicket but Ziaur broke the stand and later took the wicket of Tinashe Panyangara to complete the five-for. Robiul Islam removed Shingi who made 33 to add to his four-wicket haul.
Earlier, Nasir held the Bangladesh innings together after they were 94 for 4 in the 22nd over. It was his fifth ODI fifty, and he struck seven fours and a six in his 67-ball innings. He put together two important partnerships too. For the fifth wicket, he and Mominul Haque added 76 off 87 balls in quick time, before Nasir and Mahmudullah put together 44 runs for the sixth wicket.
Nasir’s knock was the only element of the innings that wasn’t riddled with mistakes, although his innings ended with a well-timed shot that was caught at deep point. But he dominated the Zimbabwe bowlers despite the situation. He found boundaries regularly, striking the ball very well and piercing the off-side field from the start.
Mominul struck three boundaries in his 66-ball 38, which was slightly slower than what was desired at the stage. And not for the first time, he was out playing a ball far from his body. All the main Bangladesh batsmen gave away their wickets to a combination of soft dismissals, poor calling and overall complacency.
It began with Tamim Iqbal, who was caught down the legside off Shingi Masakadza in the 14th over. He and Mohammad Ashraful added 65 runs quite confidently but their reticence at playing shots regularly had them getting out in such ordinary manner.
Ashraful, too, got out to a poor shot, caught at deep square-leg off Shingi’s next over. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim under-edged to the wicketkeeper after chasing a wide one outside offstump from Masakadza. Three balls later, Shakib Al Hasan was run out after Mominul’s poor call.
After he tapped the ball on the offside, Mominul initially called him for the single but stopped him midway through the run. Shakib slipped and before he could run, Malcolm Waller had hit the stumps with an underarm throw.
Masakadza was the best Zimbabwe bowler, taking four wickets for 51 runs. It was a frustrating morning session for the home side as they gave away 36 extras, including 18 wides. Masakadza completed his third four-wicket haul in ODIs after he clean bowled Mahmudullah. The beleaguered batsman came out at No. 7 to make 36 off 38 balls with three fours, key to their 88 runs in the final ten overs.