Soumya, Imrul seal whitewash | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:48 AM, October 27, 2018

Soumya, Imrul seal whitewash

It was a series where Bangladesh had a lot to prove as they were playing without two of their most experienced players in Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan.

However, everything went perfectly for the Tigers as they rode on twin centuries from Imrul Kayes and the returning Soumya Sarkar to seal a whitewash over Zimbabwe, winning the third and final ODI comprehensively by seven wickets at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chattogram yesterday.

The series witnessed the rise of a consistent Imrul, the transformation of a once-struggling Soumya and the emergence of a pace-bowling all-rounder in the form of Mohammad Saifuddin. Most importantly, it was a collective and clinical approach from the Tigers that bucked a recent trend of individual brilliance making up for collective frailty.

Bangladesh cruised to the challenging target of 287 set by Zimbabwe without any difficulty, despite losing Liton Das off the first ball of the innings. After Mohammad Mithun hit a six to win the second ODI on Wednesday, Mushfiqur Rahim staged a repeat as he smashed a maximum when the Tigers required five runs to win and took them home with 47 balls to spare.

Bangladesh broke quite a few records in the process -- Imrul and Soumya's 220-run second-wicket partnership was the highest for the Tigers for that wicket and second-highest for any wicket. The previous record for the highest second-wicket partnership was the 217-run stand between Tamim and Shakib against West Indies this year.

It was also only the third occasion that two Bangladesh batsman struck hundreds in a game. Hundreds from Tamim and Mushfiqur against Pakistan in 2015 and the twin hundreds from Shakib and Mahmudullah Riyad against New Zealand in the Champions Trophy in Cardiff last year are the previous instances.

Imrul struck his fourth ODI hundred -- two of those came in this series -- and became the highest run-scorer in a three-match series for Bangladesh, piling on 349 runs by the time his 112-ball 115 ended in a catch to the deep. Tamim held the previous record, scoring 312 runs against Pakistan in 2015.

Soumya, included for the second consecutive time in the squad midway through a series as the left-hander was playing the National Cricket League just a day ago, grabbed the opportunity and registered his second ODI hundred in grand style.

The left-hander brought the crowd to their feet with some delightful strokes all over the ground and reached his hundred by hitting his 81st delivery for a handsome six over deep midwicket. He was eventually dismissed for a 92-ball 117, but not before he hit nine fours and six sixes.

It was a sight for sore eyes to see both southpaws on song as Imrul and Soumya dominated the Zimbabwe bowlers right from the start. Imrul was the aggressor early on, but Soumya later hit the accelerator and reached his hundred before his partner.

Imrul, watchful after being dismissed in the nineties in the previous game, brought up his landmark in 99 balls.

Earlier, Zimbabwe rode on Sean Williams's second ODI hundred -- an unbeaten 129 off 143 balls with 10 fours and a six -- to post a challenging 286 for five.

Bangladesh made three changes to the side, including Abu Hider, Soumya and giving a debut to Ariful Haque as skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza won his third consecutive toss and opted to field.

The visitors at one stage were set to go past the 300 mark but some tight death bowling from Hider and Saifuddin, even with centurion Williams at the crease, kept Zimbabwe in check as they scored just seven runs from the last two overs.

Mashrafe handed the new ball to youngsters Hider and Saifuddin and the duo provided a good start as Zimbabwe were struggling on six for two inside three overs.

But Williams and Taylor then steadied the ship and started to accelerate -- the pair added 132 runs for the third wicket. Taylor was however dismissed top-edging a slog sweep, scoring 75 off 72 balls with 10 fours and a six.

Williams then paired with Sikandar Raza and added 84 runs for the fourth wicket before Raza departed after scoring forty.

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