Zimbabwe defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the second ODI of a three-match series in Harare on August 7.
Sikandar Raza, who scripted Zimbabwe first victory over Bangladesh after nine years in the first game with a sublime 135 not out, was also unbeaten on 127 ball-117, that included eight fours and four sixes as Zimbabwe chased down Bangladesh's 290-9 with incredible ease, reaching 291-5 with 15 balls remaining. This gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Raza also claimed 3-56 in bowling to make the game of his own, this time was ably supported by captain Regis Chakabva who hit his maiden century before being out on 102 off 75, smashing 10 fours and two sixes.
Raza and Chakabva shared 201-run, a fifth wicket highest partnership for the country to help the side reach the victory effortlessly after they fell in tricky situation, being reduced to 49-4.
Chasing a victory target of 291, Zimbabwe lost first two wickets in three overs including Innocent Kaia who accompanied Raza in beating Bangladesh in the first game by five wickets, with his maiden century. Kaia who struck 110 in that match was out on 7.
Both of the first two wickets were taken by pacer Hasan Mahmud, the only shining spot in an otherwise a pretty listless bowling effort. He finished with 2-47 when his senior two pacers-Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam leaked runs in abundance.
The situation got worsened further for Zimbabwe when two spinners-Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Taijul Islam took out Wessly Madhevere (2) and Tadiwanashe Marumanu (25) respectively, making Bangladesh favourite to stay alive in the series.
But Raza showed his other side. In the first game, he counterattacked right from the words go as Zimbabwe were chasing a 300 plus target. Here he showed the patience initially, considering that Zimbabwe's inexperienced batting line up.
Zimbabwe were already without the service of the likes of Milton Shumba and Ryan Burl, who generally bat in the lower middle order. Since the hosts had to field new players in this position, Raza knew he needed to value his wicket.
And he did it with utmost confidence. But Chakabva's whirlwind batting made the task easier for him.
When Miraz got the better of Chakabva in the 44th over, Zimbabwe were just 41 runs away from the victory. Debutant Tony Munyonga however did the rest, giving Raza, who was visibly tired, some respite. Munyonga clubbed two fours and as many sixes for his 16 ball-30 not out and ensured the side's victory with a slog-swept boundary off Afif Hossain through backward square leg.
Bangladesh earlier failed to score 300 despite Mahmudullah Riyad's 80 not out and skipper Tamim iqbal's 50.
Mahmudullah's 80 not out came off 84 balls with the help of three fours and as many sixes. But despite his presence, Bangladesh scored just 44 runs in the last five overs against an inexperienced Zimbabwe bowling attack that included two debutant bowlers.
Zimbabwe captain Regis Chakabva once again won the toss and opted to bowl first.
The Tigers which made three changes for this crucial game got a good start thanks to the captain Tamim, who faced 45 balls for his 50, that studded with 10 fours and one six. It meant Tamim's 46 runs came from just 11 runs while the rest of the 34 balls fetched him just four runs. It again brought Tamim's failure to rotate the scoreboard to the fore.
His opening partner Anamul Haque Bijoy scored 20 off 25 as the opening partnership put up 71 in 11 overs.
Tamim and Bijoy's departure in the space of three overs left Bangladesh in trouble as the scoreboard lost its pace. Both Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mushfiqur Rahim, the key batters of the middle order got their start but were dismissed on 38 and 25 runs respectively.
Mahmudullah then took the onus alongside Afif Hossain who was more fluent than his senior colleague. Afif's run-a-ball-41 was key in helping the side take closer to 300 runs mark.
Mahmudullah whose 26th half-century came off 69 balls tried to push for a big shot in the last powerplay but he failed to score as it was expected in the benign pitch.