The Sunday Mail
ANOTHER top-order collapse, another pair of sublime centuries and, more importantly, a crucial five-wicket victory!
That was the story of the day as Zimbabwe clinched their three-match ODI series, after they beat Bangladesh by five wickets at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
The win sees the hosts take an unassailable 2-0 lead, with one more game to go in the series.
Much like the first match of the series, Zimbabwe won the toss and sent Bangladesh in to bat.
Marshalled by a pair of half-centuries by opener Tamin Iqbal (50) and Mohammad Mahmudullah’s unbeaten 80 lower down the order, the visitors posted 290 for nine in their allotted 50 overs.
For their part, the Chevrons’ bowlers put up a more composed performance in the field, with Sikandar Raza taking three for 56 runs, while Wesley Madhevere finished with two for 40.
Seamers, Victor Nyauchi and Tanaka Chavanga, each took a wicket apiece.
Looking back, 290 probably gave Bangladesh some comfort, especially when they once again took four early wickets and Zimbabwe’s top-order struggled to get any runs and partnerships going.
It took the intervention of man-of-the-moment, Sikandar Raza and skipper, Regis Chakabva, who got together when the hosts were in a spot of bother with 49 for four, and only 14 overs into the run chase.
The pair put up a historic fifth-wicket partnership as they scored 201 off 169 balls, and saw the duo score the second pair of centuries in the series.
Chakabva’s 102 off 75 balls was his maiden century, while Raza’s unbeaten 117 runs off 127 balls saw the 36-year-old join Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura as the only Zimbabweans with back-to-back centuries.
The 200-run partnership is also now the highest Zimbabwean fifth wicket stand, breaking Murray Goodwin and Grant Flower’s 186 against the West Indies back in the year 2000.
It is also the third-highest Zimbabwean partnership, behind only Hamilton Masakadza and Raza’s 224-run opening stand against Afghanistan (2014) and Stuart Carlisle and Sean Ervine’s 202-run fourth wicket stand against India back in 2004.
Zimbabwe’s five-wicket victory also featured a nice little cameo by debutant Tony Munyonga, who chipped in with 30 off 16 balls, when he came in after Chakabva lost his wicket.
With the series firmly in the bag, Zimbabwe will likely go for the whitewash when the two sides meet in the third and final match of the series on Wednesday.