What initially looked like a minor blip has now turned into a major disaster as Bangladesh continued their losing streak on Zimbabwe tour with yet another heavy defeat in the second of the five-match ODI series in Harare on Sunday.
Brian Vitori produced an extraordinary performance to take his second successive five-wicket haul while Vusi Sibanda followed up his 96 in the first one-dayer with another half-century to lead Zimbabwe to a seven-wicket win.
The humiliating defeat left Bangladesh needing to win the remaining three matches of the series if they are to maintain their recent dominance over their African counterparts.
The poor application of the batsmen and the dispirited performance of the bowlers, however, made the chances of a comeback in the series very slim.
The winless Tigers were hoping to repeat the recent history to overturn the 1-0 deficit and bury the disappointments of the Test defeat but it all began on the wrong foot again with Tamim Iqbal, having been sent in to bat, started a mourning procession towards the dressing room.
It was Brian Vitori who was again the Tigers’ tormentor-in-chief but this time on a completely different surface, devoid of any grass that initially gave an impression that the batsmen would find life easier than they had in the first ODI.
While a changed surface gave a renewed hope, the Tigers did not change their approach, flashing at everything pitched at them and they paid a heavy price for it.
It became almost impossible for the Tigers to come back in the game after devastating opening spells from Vitori and Elton Chigumbura left them reeling at 58-6 though debutant Nasir Hossain made a brave attempt.
His 63 off 92 balls could help the Tigers assemble only 188 runs before they were all out, which was not enough by any means. Zimbabwe knocked off the target in 44.1 overs with Sibanda making 67 from 96 balls.
Any hope of Bangladesh transforming a small total into a winning score was quickly dashed by the 83-run second-wicket stand between Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza after Shafiul provided Bangladesh an early breakthrough with the wicket of Brendan Taylor.
Mahmudullah dragged Masakadza out of his crease for Mushfiqur Rahim to complete a simple stumping ending his innings on 38 before Mohammad Ashraful had Sibanda dismissed in a similar fashion.
But it was too late for Bangladesh as Tatenda Taibu took Zimbabwe home scoring 61 not out.
The man of the match award, however, went to Vitori who made the life miserable for the Bangladeshi batsmen, especially the left-handers, taking 5-20 in the process, his second five-wicket haul in as many matches.
With this feat, Vitori has now become the only bowler in the history of one-day international cricket to take five wickets in his first two appearances.
Ironically, Vitori again started with the wicket of Tamim, who edged a short ball to Raymond Price at slip to depart for just three runs. With this dismissal, Tamim has now fallen victim to Vitori in all four innings they have faced each other in Test and ODIs.
Mushfiqur Rahim, promoted to one-down to neutralise Vitori’s advantage against the left-handers instead lost his wicket to Christopher Mpofu for 12 after his attempted six only caught the leading edge.
Imrul Kayes was next to go, flashing Vitori to extra-cover fielder Masakadza for eight before Shahriar Nafees was flummoxed by a slower delivery from Chigumbura to be caught by Taylor for 14.
Mahmudullah (3) survived in the second ball he faced but could not capitalise on the life having nicked a flighted delivery from Prosper Utseya to wicketkeeper Taibu.
His dismissal came just after Bangladesh lost the wicket of Ashraful (6) leaving the onus on Sakib al Hasan once again to rescue the Tigers and he did a fair job, sharing 63 runs with Nasir Hossain for the seventh wicket.
When Sakib was out for 25, it was apprehended that Bangladesh would be bowled out for less than 150 runs but Nasir’s fifty on debut and Abdur Razzak’s 35 saved their face somewhat.
-With New Age input