Ervine, Chigumbura make light work of BCB XI

Elton Chigumbura looks after his bat during a practice session in the lead up to the ODI series against Bangladesh starting Saturday. Photo: AFP

The Zimbabweans sounded out an early warning to Bangladesh after they breezed past BCB XI by seven wickets in Fatullah. Craig Ervine and Sean Williams batted serenely before Elton Chigumbura, the captain, belted massive sixes and ended the chase of 278 with a flourish in Sikandar Raza's company.

Chigumbura, who took over the chase in the 34th over, hammered five fours and three sixes in his unbeaten 64 off 49 balls. He shared an unbroken 68-run stand with Raza for the fifth wicket as the Zimbabweans got home with 17 balls to spare.

The visitors started poorly with Richmond Mutumbami caught at point by Sabbir Rahman off Shafiul Islam in the eighth over. Chamu Chibhabha made 33 off 35 balls but bad luck followed him when Shafiul took a stunning diving catch off Sunzamul Islam in the 12th over to leave the Zimbabweans in a hint of trouble.

Williams and Ervine then added 125 runs for the third wicket before Williams walked off during the second drinks break with the score reading a comfortable 176 for 2 in 33 overs. The in-form Williams struck five fours and a six in his 57-ball 54. Ervine, meanwhile, batted longer, hitting nine fours and a six and looking equally fluent in his 99-ball 95. He was also well caught by Sabbir, who covered good ground from cover to mid-off, in the 40th over. But the good work done by the third-wicket pair converted the chase into a cruise.

The start of the match, though, was a bat-off between Anamul Haque and Imrul Kayes after news filtered through on Tuesday night that Soumya Sarkar was doubtful for the ODI series with a side strain. The pair took up the challenge, scoring a half-century each, and adding 105 for the first wicket.

Kayes played some attractive shots before holing out to Malcolm Waller off the legspinner Graeme Cremer for 56. Anamul, who made 52, was out stumped soon after off the same bowler, and lost out to Kayes, who was picked as Sarkar's replacement despite looking equally effective.

Cremer had a third wicket when Liton Das skied him, to be caught by the wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva, thereby missing a chance to play a longer innings after making a pleasing 23-ball 25, while Sabbir Rahman (3) was Luke Jongwe's first wicket.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Shahriar Nafees, rewarded with a place in the BCB XI side after he ended the National Cricket League as the highest scorer, added 90 runs for the fifth wicket. Nafees made a run-a-ball 38 with four boundaries and six while Mushfiqur ended as 81 not out off 84 balls to finish the innings on a high. But that wasn't enough against the spirited Zimbabweans on the day.


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