In the first match Nasir Hossain rescued Bangladesh by hitting 68, an innings which took them to a match-winning score before Ziaur Rahman's five wickets completed the job. In the second ODI yesterday another rescue act from an unlikely source, number nine batsman Abdur Razzak, went in vain as they lost the match by six wickets.
Razzak equalled the record for the fastest fifty -- in 21 balls -- by a Bangladesh batsman after coming in to bat with the score on 185 for seven. His innings lifted the side to 252 for nine, but Zimbabwe's batsmen learned from their mistakes in the first match when they were all out for 148, and put in a much better show to chase down the total convincingly with 13 balls to spare.
“I will not say I am disheartened, there is disappointment when you lose but the series is still equal, and there is a match to go,” said Razzak after the loss. “We did not play good enough cricket to win. They batted well. I would not say we bowled badly.”
The key phase in the match seemed to be the first ten overs after Bangladesh were put in to bat. It might have been a different story if the openers could see off the period, which they did in the first ODI. Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor suggested that the early period can be tricky for batsmen. “From my position behind the wicket, I could not see much seam movement. There is a bit of swing early on and I guess you just have to see off the first ten overs,” Taylor said when asked whether the toss played a crucial factor. “Otherwise the pitch is the same throughout the day. There is very little spin on offer, and it's just a good batting track.”
Razzak however said that the pitch is different in the afternoon than in the morning. “The first two hours in the morning is a little difficult but when I went out to bat it seemed easy, and also when they were batting.
“I was thinking of 230 when I went to bat. There was no plan really, I thought I will just swing and see what happens,” said Razzak about his 22-ball 53.
There were two crucial umpiring errors that may have cost the Tigers -- first skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was adjudged leg before to a ball that seemed to be heading down leg, then Shakib Al Hasan was given leg before to a ball that seemed to have hit his bat on way to pad. Razzak however declined to comment on the umpiring.
Taylor was steadying himself for a backlash from Bangladesh when they play the decider on Wednesday. “They are always a side that is very threatening. Some of their big players have not fired so that's a concern for us. But if we can bowl well like we have been bowling well up front it's always going to be tough to score. So hopefully we can execute our skills better and get over the line.”