Nafees stars in Bangladesh’s victory

Jaipur, October 13:

Banlgadesh rode on Shahriar Nafees’s record-smashing century to post a consolation 101-run win over Zimbabwe in a Champions Trophy qualifying match today. The left-handed opener slammed a solid 123 not out as Bangladesh posted 231-6 before dismissming Zimbabwe for 130 for their maiden win in the event. Both the teams were already knocked out of the main tournament after suffering two defeats in as many matches against Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the qualifying round.

Habibul Bashar’s side salvaged some of their pride, thanks to Nafees who became the first Bangladeshi to score two hundreds in one-day ineternationals. The 20-year-old, recently named Bangladesh’s Cricketer of the Year, also became his country’s highest scorer in one-day internationals, surpassing his own unbeaten 118 against Zimbabwe at Harare two months ago.

Zimbabwe never looked like achieving the target, losing wickets at regular intervals to suffer their third successive defeat. They were virtually out of the game when they lost five wickets for 88 runs. Opener Brendan Taylor alone offered some resistance with a 74-ball 52 for his 10th half-century. Left-arm spinner Saqibul Hasan finished with a career-best haul of 3-18 off 10 tight overs, while spinners Mohammad Rafique and Abdur Razzak grabbed two wickets each.

The day belonged to Nafees, who held the innings together after two wickets had fallen for 26. He put on 83 for the third wicket with Saqibul (36) and 81 for the next with Bashar (30). He played cautiously in the beginning but went for big shots after reaching his half-century off 92 deliveries. He took 51 more balls to complete his hundred. His lone six came off spinner Prosper Utseya. Nafees’s late flourish also saw Bangladesh score 70 in the closing 10 overs.

Bashar, who had failed to score in the previous two games, provided valuable support. He hit four boundaries in his 40-ball knock. Seamers Ed Rainsford and Anthony Ireland each grabbed two wickets.