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Vusi Sibanda ton secures rare series win

by Mohammad Isam
08 May 2013 at 13:41hrs | Views
25 overs Zimbabwe 123 for 1 (Sibanda 41*, Raza 32*) need 125 runs to beat Bangladesh 247 for 9 (Mahmudullah 75*, Nasir 63)

Zimbabwe sprinted to 123 for 1 after 25 overs in the third and deciding ODI against Bangladesh in Bulawayo. They need another 125 runs to win their first ODI series in two years.

The second-wicket pair of Vusi Sibanda and Sikander Raza added 44 runs, building on a solid start by the openers. Sibanda survived a drop on 7 at slip by Mahmudullah off Abdur Razzak.

Sibanda hammered four boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 41, batting at his best of the last four weeks. The highlights were his shots through the off side, both on the ground and through the air, as he made the best of some wayward bowling. Raza batted comfortably too, especially against the spinners. His unbeaten 32 off 37 balls included four boundaries.

The home side's dominant position was because of a fine start by the openers. The Hamilton Masakadza-Sibanda stand added 79 runs in 14.1 overs. After scoring 20 in the first five overs, the pair began to find boundaries, occasionally blasting the ball out of the ground. They made sure their bogey bowler Abdur Razzak was not comfortable, rather than the other way around.

Razzak gave away 21 runs in four overs, and was taken out of the attack after conceding a pulled boundary and straight six to Masakadza. Shafiul Islam hardly attacked the stumps or the batsmen, keeping it too wide or sliding towards leg stump. Ziaur Rahman started poorly before Robiul replaced him at that end, and cut down the runs. Shakib Al Hasan made a good start, but remained wicketless.

Masakadza fell in the 15th over when he edged Robiul, but it wasn't before he and Sibanda added Zimbabwe's first 50-plus opening partnership since September 2011.

50 overs Bangladesh 247 for 9 (Mahmudullah 75*, Hossain 63) v Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe faced a tricky chase after they gave away a extra runs in the last five overs of the deciding ODI. Bangladesh finished on 247 for 9 in 50 overs, after they were struggling midway through the innings. Nasir Hossain and Mahmudulah made fighting half-centuries, and without them Bangladesh would have struggled to make a substantial score.

There was no slog-over magic from Abdur Razzak this time, but Mahmudullah tried to hit out, smacking two sixes in Kyle Jarvis' final over. He was unbeaten on 75 off 74 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.

Zimbabwe bowlers took the credit for keeping Bangladesh to their lowest score of the series. After Brian Vitori gave them the ideal start with two wickets in his second over, Tendai Chatara and Prosper Utseya tied the scoring down and picked up the odd wicket.

Jarvis, Vitori and Chatara took two wickets each while Utseya and Sean Williams took one apiece. Williams' six overs were a bonus, as he took a big wicket and kept the scoring in check. He was only given a bowl because Elton Chigumbura walked off with a groin injury after five balls into his first over.

Bangladesh slipped to 110 for 5 in the 28th over and the home side looked primed to keep the target under 200. The Nasir-Mahmudullah partnership, however, added 79 for the sixth wicket.

Nasir once again took charge of a poor situation, running up a sweat as he made 63 off 73 balls with four boundaries. He took fewer chances this time, and he went after only the bad deliveries. There were two point fielders in place once again so he changed his focus to the leg side, picking off most of his singles in the square leg region.

He also brought out the inside-out shot over cover against Williams, but with Mahmudullah content with singles, it was not as threatening a partnership as Bangladesh would have liked, but the pair's first duty was to resurrect the innings after three senior batsmen had fallen in the space of nine overs.

Shakib Al Hasan played an ordinary shot after making a good start, lofting a Williams' delivery to short fine-leg. His 23-ball 18 was free flowing, so he was a crucial wicket for Zimbabwe, who were looking to stem the scoring rate.

The previous wicket was also a big one. Tamim Iqbal gave it away on 32; the Chatara delivery catching the bottom edge and wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor taking the catch. Mushfiqur Rahim fell trying to clear deep midwicket with a slog-sweep, after adding 62 for the third wicket. He made 32 off 41 balls, dominating his partnership with Tamim.

Vitori had given Zimbabwe their early wickets, removing Mohammad Ashraful and Jahurul Islam off consecutive deliveries in the fourth over, only his second in international cricket this year. The first delivery was a lifter that Ashraful couldn't keep down, and it thudded into his gloves and popped to gully. Vusi Sibanda ran back a little to take a simple catch. Next ball, Jahurul's middle stump was disturbed by a beautiful inswinger.

Bangladesh were in danger of subsiding for a below-par score, until Nasir and Mahmudullah came to their rescue.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent.

Source - ESPNcricinfo