Zimbabwe were given a hint of what to expect when the Micromax One-Day International Cup starts after succumbing to a 29-run defeat to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) XI here.
The visitors did well to restrict the hosts to 229-9 in 50 overs but were dismissed for 196 with four overs left before a partisan crowd of close to 2 000 fans at the Krira Shikkha Protisthan Grounds in Savar.
The match gave Allan Butcher and his charges a chance to try out some new combinations and the move looked like it would pay dividends when all-rounder Keegan Meth took four wickets.
The in-form Matabeleland Tuskers bowler shared the new ball with club teammate Christopher Mpofu and looked good with both the ball and the bat under foggy conditions.
After taking four wickets for 46 runs in eight overs, he put 29 runs on the board for the third highest score in Zimbabwe’s innings batting at number eight.
He shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 53 runs with Prosper Utseya (26) before they were both adjudged to have been trapped lbw in a space of two overs.
All-rounder Keith Dabengwa sat out the match because of a persistent cold since the team arrived here.
Tatenda Taibu top-scored with 32 runs from 48 balls and should have seen Zimbabwe home but like the other batsmen he could not convert his score into a big one.
Butcher said the team needed to have someone in the top and middle order batting line-up to bat for the whole inning as Brendan Taylor did recently in South Africa.
“The middle order panicked and it’s something that we have been doing recently even when we are not under any pressure. We were well ahead of the run-rate but like what we did against Ireland we lost wickets and got them back in the game.
“We need to have one player or two batting throughout the innings, like what Taylor did recently in South Africa but so far no one has been sticking up his hand to do it,” said Butcher.
However, credit should also go to the Bangladesh side which had some of the players who won gold at the Asian Games in Guangzhou. It however did not have any players who will feature in the ODI squad.
As expected the left-arm spinners flourished on the sticky wicket hence the reason they chose to bat first after winning the toss which gave them room to pressurise the Zimbabwe batsmen during the run chase.
Noor Hossain (18) was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for 40 runs in eight overs, while Asif Ahmed grabbed two wickets.
Meanwhile, Shakib Al-Hasan was retained as the skipper of the 15-man Bangladesh squad announced yesterday for the five-match series starting tomorrow.