Bangladesh kept themselves in the running for a spot in the final of the Zimbabwe tri-series, just, with a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club. Nasir Hossain held Bangladesh’s pursuit of 150 together, responding to Hamilton Masakadza’s half-century with an unbeaten 41 to guide his side home with 15 balls to spare. The real credit for the win must go to Bangladesh’s bowlers, however, as they scuppered Zimbabwe’s charge at the death of their innings to keep the target within reach.
Zimbabwe’s stumble, during which they lost five wickets for just 31 runs in the last five overs of their innings, gave Bangladesh a gettable target at which to aim and their openers, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Ashraful, launched the chase with gusto. Taylor opened the bowling with Prosper Utseya, the offspinner promptly being despatched for two crisp boundaries in his first five balls. Chris Mpofu’s first over went for 15, and Bangladesh were flying at 25 without loss.
Taylor raced to 27 from just 12 balls but then played one shot too many, a top-edged hoick ending up in Mahmudullah’s hands at deep midwicket. Taylor’s dismissal meant that Zimbabwe’s middle order, which hasn’t really been tested yet in this series, were offered the chance for some time in the middle. Craig Ervine couldn’t make anything of the opportunity, however, as his dreadful run with the bat continued when he played outside the line of a Mahmudullah straight-break to depart for a golden duck.
While Masakadza remained Zimbabwe still looked like passing 160, and he was cheered to a 47-ball fifty in the 15th over. The crowds attending the matches at Harare Sports Club have swelled as Zimbabwe racked up consecutive wins, and a particularly noisy rabble around Castle Corner kept warm on a wintry afternoon with choruses of exuberant and vocal support. Once Masakadza was prised out by Mortaza, however, they had much less cause to celebrate.
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