Shakib al Hasan’s all-round performance and Tamim Iqbal’s flawless unbeaten half-century enabled host Bangladesh to start the year on a winning note. The Tigers bagged a convincing eight-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the tri-nation ODI series at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Monday.
Bangladesh undoubtedly are considered a better side, compared to the current Zimbabwe side, and the win was expected. But the nature of the win will boost the home side, who ended the year 2017 with a disastrous tour of South Africa.
The Tigers are playing their favourite format at home after a break of 15 months and the intention to capitalise on it was crystal clear from the very first minute of the game.
The Tigers bowled first after winning the toss and attacked the visitor with two left-arm spinners in the form of Shakib and Sanjamul Islam, simple because of the fact that the opposition are weak against the Bangladesh left-arm spinners. This saw Bangladesh get off to a brilliant start with the ball as Shakib removed Solomon Mire and Craig Ervine, both for ducks, within the first three balls of the game. Shakib ended up with bowling figure of 3/43 from his quota of 10 overs.
Sanjamul, who appeared for Bangladesh for the first time in eight months, bagged only one wicket but was brilliant with his economy rate. The 27-year old from Rajshahi conceded only 29 runs in his allotted 10 overs.
A solid start had set the stage for the Bangladesh pacers and the group, who were questioned for underperforming in the recent past, reacted well on the day. The three Bangladesh pacers led by captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza bagged five wickets as Mustafizur Rahman notched two scalps to top the pace attack.
It must have been a beautiful sight for the Bangladesh think-tank to see Mustafizur make a contributing return to the fold after recovering from an ankle injury that he sustained during the tour of South Africa last year. Mustafizur gave away 29 runs in his stipulated 10 overs while Rubel Hossain gave away 24 runs in five overs, claiming two wickets.
Zimbabwe following the early loss of wickets saw two senior men in the side, Hamilton Masakadza and Brendon Taylor take charge. The duo were able to slow down the Bangladesh momentum but only briefly as they added 28 for the third wicket before Mashrafe dismissed Masakadza. Sikandar Raza made the most runs with the bat as the right-handed batsman registered his ninth ODI fifty, adding 52 to the total. But the effort was not complemented by the other batsmen as they were restricted to 170 in 49 overs.
Bangladesh with the bat were confident of chasing down the below-par target. Anamul Haque provided an attacking start while Tamim carried his bat till the end as Bangladesh reached their destination with around 22 overs remaining.
Anamul, playing his first ODI since 2015, started aggressively, scoring 19 off 14 balls with four boundaries. The right-handed batsman however, failed to hold his nerve while trying to clear the boundary only to give a catch to Ervine.
Tamim brought his form to the new year as the left-handed batsman registered his 39th ODI fifty, posting an unbeaten 84 in a steady 93-ball innings. The Chittagong lad in the Bangladesh chase registered two 50 plus partnerships – first with Shakib for the third wicket (78) and the second with Mushfiqur Rahim (14 not out) for the fourth wicket (unbroken 63 runs). Tamim was flawless and toyed with the Zimbabwe bowlers, hitting eight boundaries and a six.
Shakib contributed 37 to the chase and claimed the man of the match award for his all-round performance.
171/2 in 28.3 overs (Tamim 84*, Shakib 37) beat Zimbabwe
170 in 49 overs (Raza 52, Shakib 3/43) by eight wickets
TIGERS’ 100-WICKET ODI CLUB
Player Wickets Innings
Mashrafe 232 181
Shakib 229 178
Razzak 207 152
Rafique 119 123
Rubel 100 81