'The four hundreds made the difference in the series'
Sikandar Raza's splendid second consecutive hundred, along with skipper Regis Chakabva's maiden ODI ton, led Zimbabwe to a five-wicket victory against Bangladesh in the second ODI in Harare yesterday, thereby sealing the three-match ODI series with a game in hand. It was the hosts' first ODI series win against Bangladesh after nine years.
Much like the first game where Raza got a century-scoring partner in Innocent Kaia, the right-hander paired with Regis Chakabva as both scored centuries in a record 201-run fifth wicket stand after Zimbabwe were struggling at one stage at 49 for four inside 15 overs.
Chakabva, however, departed after scoring his century but Raza made sure his side continued the fine run and remained unbeaten on 117 off 127 balls. Debutant Tony Munyonga's 30-run cameo led to the celebrations for Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club.
Bangladesh, posted 303 and 290 in the two ODIs, but none of the batters were able to score a hundred. According to Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal, the four hundreds in the two games by the Zimbabwe batters made the difference
Tamim, however, added that 290 was a good total to defend but the visitors were unable to execute their plans.
"The difference is four hundreds for them and zero for us. We put a decent total. We got a good start but no one continued. In the first game, we thought we had an opportunity to score twenty more runs and today after the small collapse, Afif and Mahmudullah did well. We thought 290 was a good total to defend but we couldn't execute ourselves," Tamim said at the post-match presentation ceremony yesterday.
Bangladesh's fielding was once again below-par and the bowling was bite-less even though they managed to remove the Zimbabwe top-order early in the chase.
Tamim, though, gave credit to Zimbabwe for a brilliant display in the two games.
"The wicket was good from the beginning. It wasn't easy against the spinners. All credit to Zimbabwe, they were the better team this series. We have to pull up our socks. We haven't played our best cricket and that's why we are in this position," he said.
The series defeat is a huge blow for Bangladesh as the fifty-over format is believed to be their favoured format, and also due to their dominance over Zimbabwe in recent years.
It was also Tamim's second series defeat after being appointed as the skipper of the Tigers' ODI side in 2020.
It means a lot, though, for Zimbabwe who have been playing a positive brand of cricket in recent times.
"It (series win) is massive, we've been playing some good cricket. We were itching to play good cricket. To win the series, it's really nice. We've been trying to play positive cricket. The coaches asked me to take it deep and I batted positively. We have to play good cricket again, we'll be looking to win (the final ODI)," said Chakabva.