Zimbabwe cricket fans in Bulawayo turned out to watch international cricket for the first time in a long time, but their team did not turn up to play cricket after they surrendered to a six-wicket defeat to touring Bangladesh in the fourth of the UCB five one-day-international series at Queens Sports Club yesterday.
Having had heard so much about Brian Vitori and possibly watched him on TV, the fans, who really love their cricket and know just how to support that game in this part of the country, came to watch him live in action, but they did not see him as he was rested; neither did they see the team’s good performance that had echoed so much from Harare in this series.
Zimbabwe lead the series 3-1 and the last game is on tomorrow.
Having lost the toss in clear sky conditions on a cool day, Zimbabwe were dismissed for 199 runs in 48.2 overs. With wickets falling around him, captain Brendan Taylor (106), the little diamond among the rubble, came out to play with a performance he desperately needed after failing to score 10 runs in each of the first three ODIs of this series.
The tourists then reached the required target in 36.4 overs with captain Shakib Al Hassan and Shuvagoto Hom guiding their team home with 39 and 35 respectively.
Before that, Elton Chigumbura, who is usually intent on innings full of fire, had an opportunity to accumulate sensibly and polish a good innings score coming in with four wickets (Vusa Sibanda 18, Hamilton Masakadza 0, Tatenda Taibu 7, Foster Mutizwa 9) down with 28.2 overs to be bowled and with Zimbabwe on 89-4 after Mutizwa had just feathered a Shakib Al Hasan delivery into Mushfiqur Rahim’s gloves.
Chigumbura did that and just when he had acquired the licence to thrill, he perished attempting to hit one into the crowd in the first over of the last power play at 43.3 overs for 31 in 65 balls, caught Nasir Hossain off Rubel Hossain. Taylor and Chigumbura had put in a 94-run stand.
Taylor was to follow in rather the same fashion as Zimbabwe attempted to put up a defendable total when he was caught by Mohammad Mahmudullah off Hossain after reaching his fourth ODI century which featured seven fours and a six, to leave Zimbabwe at 184-6.
The last five wickets fell for just 16 runs for Zimbabwe with the tail giving in way too easily to the bowling of Bangladesh’s Hossain who retained figures of 4-6 in his second five-over bowling spell.
It was always going to be a difficult score to defend and it proved so when the Bangladesh batsmen got off to a flying start scoring all over the pitch.