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Shakib Al Hasan’s unbeaten 96 lead Bangladesh to their second ODI victory by three wickets as the visitors sealed the three-match series against Zimbabwe in Harare Sports Club Sunday. Tigers won their first ODI series in Zimbabwe in 12 years.
Bangladesh were struggling at 176 for seven at one point, but Shakib's heroic helped the visitors cross the finish line.
Shakib held his nerve during a 69-run eighth-wicket stand with Mohammad Saifuddin. They got together in the 39th over with the score at 173 for 7, focussing exclusively on risk-free ones and twos, as well as the odd three.
Only three boundaries were scored by Bangladesh in the last 19 overs of their innings, but it was enough to turn the game around.
Shakib's fifty was only his second of the year, and it came only a day after he took a five-wicket haul in Bangladesh's 155-run victory in the opening ODI of the series.
Saifuddin's value as a lower-order hitter was demonstrated not by his big hits, but by holding his cool in Bangladesh's first chase success since the 2019 World Cup.
They got off to a fast start, with captain Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das each hitting four boundaries in a 39-run opening stand. Luke Jongwe put an end to the partnership by convincing Tamim to cut the ball, only for Raza to take a fantastic catch at backward point.
In the next eight overs, the visitors were reduced to 74 for 4 when Richard Ngarava got one to hurry on Das, who popped a catch to mid-on. When Mohammad Mithun cut one to point to Madhevere, who dived to his left to catch it, Jongwe struck again.
After four wickets are lost early, Mahmudullah comes to the rescue. He contributed 55 runs for the fifth wicket with Shakib this time, having hit three fours in his 26. But Blessing Muzarabani caught him behind off the first ball of his second spell.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who had been promoted over Afif Hossain, was bowled out by Madhevere after a half-hearted slog-sweep.
After Afif was got stumped by Raza, it appeared that Bangladesh would not be able to turn the tide, but Saifuddin and Shakib had other ideas.
Earlier, Bangladesh newcomer Shoriful Islam took four wickets as hosts Zimbabwe gave 241-run target to the Tigers to save the series.
Wessley Madhevere top-scored with 56 runs, but his 63-run sixth-wicket stand with Raza helped Zimbabwe pass the 200-run threshold.
Having won the toss, Zimbabwe began poorly, losing openers Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (1) and Tadiwanashe Marumani (13) cheaply.
Captain Brendan Taylor was his usual swashbuckling self, making 46 off 57 balls, before his innings came to a bizarre 'hit wicket' end.
He swung his bat casually at a delivery from the most impressive Bangladesh bowler, Shoriful and it clipped the stump.
Taylor was one of four wickets taken by left-arm quick Shoriful, who finished with 4 for 46 in ten overs, his best ODI statistics.
After Taskin Ahmed and Miraz got the visitors off to a solid start, Shakib claimed two wickets.