Zim beaten by Bangladesh in 2006 Aktel ODI series

During the week, the first part of the tour was concluded with Bangladesh beating the tourists by 26 runs, in the third Aktel One-Day International (ODI) match.

The day-night tie on Tuesday was the second of its nature the two had played at the Shahid Chandu Stadium in Bogra. Bangladesh won the first one by six wickets last Sunday. The Bogra wins added to their 9-wicket victory in the first ODI which was played in the city of Khulna, gave Bangladesh an unassailable three-nil lead in the five-match series, going into the weekend.

As it had been in the other two ODIs, left-arm spin was again the bane of the Zimbabwe batsmen in the third match, with Abdur Razzak Raj garnering a career best five for 33 to lead Bangladesh to the win.

For the first time in the series, Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to field in the third match but, as they had done during the earlier matches, the Bangladeshi openers did not waste time before putting shoulder to wheel. Shahriar Nafees (35) and Mehrab Hossain Junior (38) built up a 64-run partnership for the first wicket before Nafees was caught by Gary Brent off Elton Chigumbura in the 10th over.

Zimbabwe then employed their own spin armoury of skipper Prosper Utseya and Sean Williams to slow down the run-rate. It was Utseya who took the next wicket, that of Aftab Ahmed, in the 16th over to make it 85 for two. The man dubbed the “Economist” for his miserliness finished with typical figures of one for 21 runs in 10 overs, one of them maiden. Pace-bowler Christopher Mpofu was also outstanding in restricting the Tigers to 220 as he claimed a career-best four wickets for 42 runs in 9,2 overs. Keith Dabengwa finished with three for 19 runs in three overs.

A day that had seen the Zimbabwe fielding showing glimpses of its best with catches from the top shelf by Brent, Chibhabha and Dabengwa also showed what has been the weakness of the side: the inability of the top order to occupy the crease. Brendan Taylor, dropped by Mashrafee Bin Mortaza in the fourth over never used the life as he was out next ball, clean-bowled by Shahadat Hossain. Stuart Matsikenyeri (24) fell to Abdur Razzak in the 10th over, and the remainder of the top four were out midway in the 15th over. The slide could have continued had Williams not been saved by Shahriar Nafees at third man when he was on two. The survivor made it count, building a 75-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Elton Chigumbura and then another of 58 for the sixth wicket with Dabengwa.

In the process, the former Zimbabwe under-19 captain notched his second career ODI half century. Coming off 93 balls, it earned him the fastest 50 award to add to the man of the match one he got in the second ODI when he posted his first ODI fifty.

But Williams’ gallantry with the bat, which saw him top-scoring for Zimbabwe with 68 runs, could not save the tourists. They perished on 194 in the 49th over.

And with their defeat went their chance of keeping the 2006 Aktel ODI series alive.

The fourth and five ODIs were set for the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. They also served as celebrations for the inauguration of the facility in the Mirpur area of the Bangladesh capital as an international cricket venue. The Bangladesh Cricket Control Board received that approval from the International Cricket Council earlier in the week.

Starting tomorrow, Bangladesh will be hosting Zimbabwe A in a three-day match. This will be followed by a four-dayer starting on Friday.

December 2006
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