Clarity breeds consistency for batters in ODIs
After a 2-1 defeat in the preceding three-match T20I series, Bangladesh needed to bounce back in their favoured ODI format and Tamim Iqbal and his troops did exactly that, continuing their dominance in the 50-over game in the first of the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday.
Although Bangladesh's approach in the longest and the shortest format of the game has constantly been questioned, the Tigers get into the groove and adapt accordingly when it comes to one-day cricket.
While batting has remained the chief area of concern in the other two formats, the department, buoyed a collective approach, flourished in yesterday's match as Bangladesh reached 303 for two after being asked to bat.
A combined batting effort from the top order saw skipper Tamim and Liton Das lay the platform for a big total by adding 119 runs for the opening wicket. Tamim led from the front, scoring his 54th ODI half-century. In the process, the left-hander also became the first Bangladeshi to score 8,0000 ODI runs.
At the other end, Liton continued his sublime form, registering his seventh fifty overall. But just when the stylish right-hander was eyeing a sixth ODI ton, he unfortunately sustained an injury and had to retire hurt after scoring a well-made 81 off 89 balls.
On his comeback to the ODI side after over three years, Anamul Haque finally had an impact after a string of failures in the other two formats since returning to the squad ahead of the West Indies tour in the preceding series.
Coming in at number three, the right-hander was cognizant of the situation and kept the tempo up. He went on to bring up his fifth ODI half century, which came almost eight years since his last fifty, also scored against the same opposition in Mirpur.
There were always questions about Anamul's approach and attitude in the past and concerns about the 29-year-old's inability to rotate the strike, but that was not the case yesterday.
After coming out to bat in the 26th over, Anamul looked comfortable in rotating the strike. But that did not mean he shied away from playing his shots when offered, reaching his fifty off a brisk 47 balls.
He was joined by another experienced campaigner in the form of Mushfiqur Rahim, also returning to the side, and the duo added 96 runs for the second wicket.
Anamul was eventually dismissed in the 46th over as the Tigers attempted to accelerate after scoring 73 runs off 62 balls, a knock punctuated by three sixes and six fours.
Mushfiqur became the fourth batsman to hit a half-century for the visitors, bringing up his 42nd ODI fifty and remaining unbeaten on 52 off 49 balls. Mahmudullah Riyad was not out on 20 as Bangladesh added 52 runs in the last six overs of the innings.
It was the clarity in the thought process of the think-tank, unmarred by controversial selections in the playing eleven, that saw the players understand their role in the ODI format. It is probably also a big reason for the consistency displayed by the Tigers in this format.
With the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup next year and Bangladesh having won six of their past seven ODI series under Tamim's captaincy, the think-tank may find themselves in a bittersweet dilemma when it comes to picking a playing eleven when star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan returns to the team.
SCORES IN BRIEF
303/2 in 50 overs (Tamim 62, Liton 81 ret. hurt, Anamul 73, Mushfiqur 52; Raza 1-48)
307/5 in 48.2 overs (Kaia 110, Raza 135 not out, Mustafizur 1-57)
Zimbabwe won by 5 wickets