Raza, Kaia stun Tigers
Sikandar Raza and Innocent Kaia stitched together a record stand to down Bangladesh in their preferred format for the first time in nine years as Zimbabwe recorded a five-wicket victory in the first ODI of the three-match series at the Harare Sports Club.
Riding on Raza and Kaia's 192-run fourth wicket stand -- the highest partnership for Zimbabwe for any wicket against Bangladesh -- Zimbabwe chased down a 304-run target with 10 balls to spare. It was the highest successful chase by Zimbabwe against Bangladesh and also brought an end to Bangladesh's 19-match winning streak against them in ODIs.
In fitting manner, the winning runs were scored in style by Raza -- with a massive six over midwicket off a Mosaddek Hossain delivery in the penultimate over. Raza remained unbeaten for a boundary-laden 109-ball 135 while Kaia scored 110 off 122 balls as the duo spearheaded Zimbabwe's cause.
Before Raza and Kaia took matters into their own hands, Zimbabwe were in a precarious position, having lost two wickets for just six runs in 1.5 overs. Zimbabwe also lost Wessly Madhevere in the 14th over, leaving the hosts with an uphill climb.
Just when things looked to be going Bangladesh's way, Raza and Kaia emerged. They broke a 25-year-old record to pull Zimbabwe out of a perilous situation. Their record stand surpassed Andy Flower and Grant Flower's 161-run opening stand in 1997 in Nairobi -- which till yesterday was Zimbabwe's highest partnership for any wicket against Bangladesh in ODIs.
While Raza and Kaia seemed determined and locked in during the chase, a lacklustre fielding display from Bangladesh aided them. The Tigers fumbled a total of three catches -- dropping Raza on 43, Kaia on 74 and Luke Jongwe on 17. To worsen matters, they also missed a stumping chance.
Earlier, a splendid batting display saw Bangladesh pile up a commendable 303 for two, the platform for which was set by a 119-run opening stand from skipper Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das.
Following some delightful stroke-making from Liton and Tamim, their partnership came to an end when Tamim (62 off 88) top-edged a Sikandar Raza delivery in the 26th over and was caught at short third man after becoming the first Bangladeshi to reach 8,000 ODI runs.
Liton then starred in another fifty-plus stand for the second wicket with Anamul Haque, who returned to the ODI format for the first time since July 2019.
However, Liton, who continued his rich vein of form by reaching 81 off 89 deliveries, saw an abrupt end to his innings as he was stretchered off following an apparent hamstring pull in the 34th over.
But that did not stop Anamul from making a statement as the right-hander, after a steady start, upped the ante in the later stage of the innings on way to stitching a 96-run stand with Mushfiqur Rahim. Anamul departed in the 46th over, after scoring a 62-ball 73 that featured six boundaries and three maximums.
The experienced duo of Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah Riyad then combined for a quickfire 36-run stand for the fourth wicket to help Bangladesh take the score past the 300-run mark. Mushfiqur, on his return from a break, remained unbeaten for a 49-ball 52.