Tamim Iqbal’s explosive 95 blew away Zimbabwe on a slow Chittagong pitch on which the visitors had limped to 188 — 6, giving Bangladesh a six-wicket victory and a sixth-consecutive series win over Zimbabwe.
On a track where the rest of the batsmen managed 10 boundaries, Tamim clattered seven sixes and five fours after starting cautiously and surviving some anxious moments. Despite three of the top five batsmen contributing 13 runs between them, and Junaid Siddique taking 105 deliveries to reach a half-century, Tamim’s charge allowed Bangladesh to canter to victory as they took the series 3-1.
He had curbed his natural attacking instincts after Imrul Kayes fell to the fourth delivery of the chase, before opening up with a pull over square leg off Chris Mpofu in the seventh over.
Mpofu’s next over was an example of how the chase progressed – in sporadic spurts amid fortuitous let-offs. Tamim went for his favourite heave down the ground off the first delivery, but got an inside-edge that went just past the stumps for a boundary.
The third delivery was lifted cleanly over long-off for six, before Mpofu made a mess of a straightforward chance as Tamim chipped a slower one in the air.
Taibu and Craig Ervine had earlier put on Zimbabwe’s highest partnership of the series but their progress was painfully slow, before a late charge in the batting powerplay took the visitors to 188 on a surface that didn’t turn much.
Only nine boundaries were hit – six of them in the final six overs – partly because of the low and slow nature of the surface and the damp outfield, but largely due to the lack of intent Zimbabwe displayed.
The first boundary came in the 24th over when Taibu stepped out and lifted Naeem Islam over mid-off.
The batsmen showed more purpose after that and the duo had added 95 before Ervine fell, going for another reverse-sweep and getting a top edge that Mushfiqur Rahim gobbled up.
Taibu, who made his first half-century of the series, continued to hustle between the wickets.
From 137 for 4 after 44 overs, Zimbabwe took 42 off the batting Powerplay, using the lofted shot over the infield to good effect.