Bangladesh paid the price for their poor batting as they suffered their second successive series defeat against Zimbabwe after a crushing seven-wicket defeat in the third and
final one-day international at Bulawayo on Wednesday.
Vice-captain Mahmudullah and in-form Nasir Hossain cracked half-centuries to lead the revival for the Tigers taking them to 247-9 but it was very inadequate for the home team, who rode on an unbeaten 103 runs from Vusi Sibanda to race to 251-3, posting a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in the series.
Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak twice came close to dismissing Sibanda but his efforts went in vain as the opener was dropped on eight at slip by Mahmudullah and on 92 by Nasir Hossain.
Sibanda along with Hamilton Mazakadza (41) put on 79 in their the opening stand to give them an ideal start from where it was very difficult for the Tigers to come back in the game.
It was totally opposite to the way Bangladesh had started their innings after being put in to bat for the third consecutive time by Zimbabwean skipper Brendan Taylor, who won the toss in all three matches.
Bangladesh made one change, bringing in Jahirul Islam in Mominul Hauqe’s place at the number three position but it did not bring any change to their fate as pace bowler Brian Vitori removed opener Mohammad Ashraful and Jahirul in successive balls to leave the visitors struggling at 15-2.
Opener Tamim Iqbal along with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim tried to resurrect the innings by adding 62 runs for the third wicket and just when they looked to have survived the difficult period before both the batsmen just spoiled their chances.
Utseya removed Mushfiq to give the hosts the important breakthrough when he was brilliantly caught
by Tendai Chatara at deep midwicket for 32 before two experienced campaigners Tamim and Sakib al Hasan followed him inexplicably.
Tamim chose a different route by trying to play a patient knock, after hitting Kyle Jarvis initially for a huge six he eventually lost his cool to chase a Chatara delivery that was brilliantly caught by Taylor from behind the wicket.
Tamim, who earlier survived a dropped catch, took 70 balls to score 32.
All-rounder Sakib made 18 before playing an unnecessary slog-sweep to gift his wicket as Sibanda accepted his catch at backward square-leg to put the Tigers in real trouble with the scoreboard reading 110-5.
Nasir provided the first resistance with his 63 from 74 balls and Mahmudullah hit the form finally on this tour to score a career best 75 from 73 balls to give the bowlers something to fight with.
However, Zimbabwe’s openers made life difficult for them before Ziaur Rahman and Mahmudullah dismissed Sikandar Raza and Brandon Talylor to give them a glimmer of hope.
A 109-run unbroken partnership between Sibanda and Sean Williams, the man of the match in the second match, sealed the game as Zimbabwe reached their target in 47.1 overs. The victory could have come early if Willams (55 not out) had not wasted five balls to allow Sibanda to complete his century.
Bangladesh 247-9 in 50 overs (Mahmudullah 75 not out, N Hossain 63, M Rahim 32, T Iqbal 32; Sakib al Hasan 18; B Vitori 2-43, T Chatara 2-59, K Jarvis 2-63) v Zimbabwe 251-3 in 47.1 overs (V Sibanda 103 not out, S Williams 55 not out, H Masakadza 41, S Raza 37; Z Rahman 1-25, Mahmudullah 1-29).
Result: Zimbabwe won by 7 wickets.
Man of the match: V Sibanda (ZIM)
Man of the series: V Sibanda (ZIM)
Series: Zimbabwe won the 3-match series 2-1
-With New Age input