Zimbabwe’s top order batting line-up put up yet another dismal display as Bangladesh’s left arm spinner Abdur Razzak again inspired his team to a comfortable 65-run victory at the Sher-e- Bangla National Stadium Monday in the third Micromax One Day cricket match.
Chasing 247 runs for victory, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 181 runs in 48.1 overs as Razzak’s impressive figures of 4-43 in nine overs ensured that the hosts took a 2-1 lead in the five match series. The performance earned him his second man-of-the-match award in three matches.
The margin of defeat could have been more embarrassing for the tourists had it not been for stand-in skipper Prosper Utseya’s spirited half century after Zimbabwe were at one time in deep trouble at 47 for six after 19 overs.
In fact Utseya fought a lone battle for Zimbabwe with both bat and ball as he ensured that his team went down with its dignity intact.
His half century was the first by a Zimbabwean batsman in the series and should give the misfiring batsmen something to ponder about as they continue to let down the nation.
His knock of 67 runs, coming in at number seven when Zimbabwe had lost six wickets for less than 50 runs was the best contribution on the visitors’ scorecard.
Zimbabwe won the toss — the first time in this series — and elected to field first under overcast conditions after the heavens had threatened to open up just before start of play.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan led his team’s recovery from a stuttering start with an impressive top score of 73 runs from 91 balls to help his side post a very competitive 246 for seven in their allotted 50 overs.
Utseya was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe as he not only broke the partnership but finished with career best impressive bowling figures of 4-38 in 10 overs.
Zimbabwe got off to a dream start after inform seamer Christopher Mpofu bowled a wicket maiden first over after trapping the hard-hitting Tamin Iqbal leg before wicket for a duck.
Utseya then took a brilliant one handed catch at square-leg to dismiss Junaed Siddique for just one run in the third over off Shingirai Masakadza, who had been handed his first start of the series.
The hosts were under pressure as they had only five runs on the board but Zimbabwe did not sustain the pressure.
The hosts swiftly reversed the pressure in front of a vociferous partisan crowd with an impressive fifth wicket partnership stand of 116 between Hasan and an equally brilliant Mushfiqur Rahim who scored 63 off 73 runs.
The two ensured that their team set a competitive total but in contrast only the tail-enders on Zimbabwe’s batting line-up came close to emulating their counterparts.
Only Brendan Taylor managed double figures with 17 runs while the other five batsmen could not manage to get into double figures as Razzak grabbed three wickets in two overs after being introduced in the fourth over.
Utseya then shared a seventh wicket partnership off 48 runs with leg-spinner Graeme Cremer (24) to take Zimbabwe from 47 for six to 95-7 but by then the writing was already on the wall.
The series now moves to Chittagong, which is also a spinners’ paradise.
The batsman will certainly have to work on their weaknesses to at least finish their allotted 50 overs for the first time in this series.