In ODIs, Zimbabwe are the most common enemy for Bangladesh as the Tigers played 69 matches against the African side. With 41 wins, the number of victories and percentage are also highest against any Test-playing nation. But, the path was never a smooth one and the rivalry saw some unforgettable moments.
Tigers’ first win, Harare, May 2004
Against a strong Zimbabwean outfit, defeat seemed to be inevitable in the early days as Bangladesh lost the first 10 ODIs since they first faced each other in 1997. Ultimately, the Tigers fetched a win as they restricted the host to 230/9 after scoring 238, thanks to fifties from skipper Habibul Bashar, Rajin Saleh and Mohammad Ashraful. That also ended Bangladesh’s ignominious run of 47 matches without a win in ODIs, a record they are not proud of.
Taylor’s heist, Mashrafe’s agony, Harare, August 2006
Zimbabwe needed six off the last ball and Brendon Taylor registered the most sensational win by hitting a Mashrafe bin Mortaza full-toss over mid-wicket. Mashrafe, arguably the greatest fast bowler the country has ever produced, bowled his worst over in international cricket. Tawanda Mupariwa scored a single off the first delivery and Taylor struck a six in the second to keep the chase alive. The paceman came back with a dot but conceded a wide and Taylor struck a boundary in the next ball to make the equation six off two. Although Mupariwa was run out in the next ball, Taylor finished the match in style.
Tamim nullify Coventry’s world record effort, Bulawayo, August 2009
Charles Coventry, who used to bat with glasses, stunned the world by scoring an unbeaten 194, the erstwhile joint highest individual innings in an ODI. His only century in ODIs enjoyed the pedigree of being at the zenith for a few months before Sachin Tendulkar scored the first double-century in February 2010, but his joy was even more ephemeral as Bangladesh chased down the host’s 312. Bangladesh’s premium opener Tamim Iqbal might not have made the world record but his Bangladesh record innings of 154 of 138 balls was enough to help his side win. Those two individual scores are still the two best scores in ODIs between these sides.
‘Chokka Naeem’ heist, Chittagong, November 2009
Naeem Islam, a diminutive figure, batting at No 8, scored some thumping sixes to bring a win for the host from the jaws of defeat. Chasing a total of 221, Bangladesh were reduced to 179/8 and Tamim, who was retired hurt earlier scoring two, could not add anything on his return as he was run out leaving the last pair to score 35 runs. Nazmul Hossain, the No 11, survived four balls and scored a run but it was Naeem who navigated the side single-handedly with a 73-run innings. He struck three sixes off as many consecutive balls off Chamu Chibhabha in the 48th over and enhanced his reputation of “Chokka Naeem”, or, six-hitter Naeem.
Mashrafe transforms Tigers into a formidable side
The fall and rise of Mashrafe, Bangladesh’s charismatic captain, epitomises the progress of Bangladesh. He returned to the helm with the first match of the five-game series against Zimbabwe back in 2014. The side not only clinched the series 5-0 but also won the next five games to make his captaincy record against the African side 100% till date.