B’desh clinch first-ever ODI series

Agence France Presse

Dhaka, January 31:

Bangladesh clinched their first-ever one-day series as they thrashed Zimbabwe by eight wickets in the fifth and final one-day international on Monday.

Bangladesh, who have won only nine of their 106 matches since making their one-day debut in 1986, rode on explosive half-centuries from Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Rafique to surpass Zimbabwe’s total of 198 with 17 overs to spare to win the series 3-2.

The hosts completed a grand double with this win, having clinched their maiden Test series against Zimbabwe earlier this month. Ahmed (81 not out) and Rafique (72) were involved in a record 150-run stand for the second wicket to cap a remarkable comeback by Bangladesh, who had lost the first two matches.

The rollicking partnership between man-of-the-match Rafique and Ahmed came off just 21.4 overs. Rafique smashed four sixes and seven fours in his 66-ball knock and Ahmed had two sixes and 10 fours in his 87-ball innings.

Their stand was Bangladesh’s second-highest for any wicket in one-dayers after 170 between Shahriar Hossain and Mehrab Hossain against the same opponents at the same venue in 1999. Rafique (2-34) had earlier led a pack of disciplined Bangladeshi spinners to help his team restrict Zimbabwe to a modest total despite a career-best 84 from left-handed opener Barney Rogers. Bangladesh’s decision to go into the decisive game with three left-arm spinners paid handsome dividends as Rafique, Enamul Haque and Manjural Rana conceded just 94 runs in their 30 overs to make Zimbabwe struggle for runs on a slow pitch.

Left-handed Rogers kept alive Zimbabwe’s hopes of posting a competitive total with his third half-century in four matches, but his dismissal sparked a collapse which saw the tourists lose their last seven wickets for 37 runs.

Electing to bat, Zimbabwe were well-placed at 161-3 before Rogers was stumped off Haque after hitting one six and seven fours in his fifth half-century in 12 matches.

Rogers, who had made 66, 51, 49 in his last three matches, put on 95 for the third wicket with Brendan Taylor (36), but Zimbabwe failed to build on their partnership as they lost wickets at regular intervals against the spinners.