Zimbabwe 251-3 (Sibanda 103no) beat
Bangladesh 247-9 by 7 wickets
Third One-Day International, Bulawayo
The deadlock between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh was finally broken in the third One-Day International in Bulawayo. After the Test series had been tied, and with the ODI series locked at one-all, Vusi Sibanda followed up a disciplined bowling effort from the home side with his second century to give them a rare series victory.
Brian Vitori, playing his first competitive game in almost five months, began well after the hosts had won the toss and elected to field. He found swing and enough pace to dispatch Mohammad Ashraful and Jahurul Islam with consecutive balls in his second over.
A bit of extra bounce did for Ashraful, who fended to the gully, while Jahurul succumbed to a full swinging delivery first up.
Tamim Iqbal and captain Mushfiqur Rahim then replied with a determined third-wicket stand of 62 in 15 overs, but they too fell in quick succession. Both made 32, but Prosper Utseya was rewarded for a tidy spell of off-spin by having Rahim caught in the deep, while Tamim fell to Tendai Chatara.
Shakib then made 18 before becoming the fifth man to fall with the score on 110 but, as is so often the case, Nasir Hossain came to the rescue.
Bangladesh’s Mr. Reliable added 79 with Mahmudullah for the sixth-wicket to give his side hope. In truth, they were still short of a par score at 247 for nine, in spite of some late hitting from Mahmudullah, who finished on 75 off 73 balls.
Zimbabwe’s bowlers had done their captain proud, with Chatara (two for 59), Sean Williams (one for 29), Prosper Utseya (one for 34) and Hamilton Masakadza (none for 16) all economical to back up the threat posed by Vitori early on.
Zimbabwe then began their run chase well as, for once, their two big name openers, Hamilton Masakadza and Sibanda, performed together. They added 79 in 14 overs before Masakadza was caught off Robiul Islam for a sprightly 41 off 46 balls.
Sibanda, though, found enough support from the subsequent batsmen - although not on this occasion Brendan Taylor, who made just two - to anchor Zimbabwe’s run chase and finally convert an eye-pleasing start into something more substantial.
He shared 56 with a steadfast Sikandar Raza (37 off 52 balls) for the second-wicket and then the unbroken 109 for the fourth-wicket with Sean Williams that took them across the line. Williams was again mightily impressive and ended on 55 off 46 balls, and allowed Sibanda to hit the winning runs which brought up his much-needed century.
The two teams will meet again to contest a brace of Twenty20 Internationals over the weekend - matches which will again be played at Bulawayo’s Queen’s Sports Club.
© Cricket World 2013