Tamim Iqbal shrugged off his poor form with a record hundred but Bangladesh still had to show some nerve with the ball to beat Zimbabwe by four runs in the second one-day international and seal the three-match series in Sylhet on Tuesday.
Much-criticised for his slow approach in recent matches, Tamim came out of his shell to hit 158 off 136 balls, the highest ever one-day international score for a Bangladeshi, guiding the hosts to 322-8.
The Tigers’ total is an improvement from their Sunday’s opening match when they put their previous highest total against Zimbabwe, 321-6, before winning the game by a record 169-run.
Any hope of winning by a similar kind of margin was dashed after Zimbabwe put much better effort with the bat on the back of experienced Sikandar Raza’s 66 of 57 balls and maiden fifties of Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (51), Wesley Madhevere (52) and Donald Tiripano (55 not out).
Bangladesh were still favourites to win the contest, especially after skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza removed Raza, who slashed a straight catch to third man fielder Mahmudullah in 42nd over.
But Tiripano and Tinotenda Mutombodzi had other ideas as they added 80-run for the eighth wicket, the highest eighth wicket stand ever by any side in Bangladesh that nearly stunned the Tigers.
The pair nearly made Bangladesh regret for sacrificing their bowling strength by resting Mohammad Saifuddin and Mustafizur Rahman to include Shafiul Islam and Al-Amin Hossain.
Both Shafiul and Al-Amin leaked bagful runs before finishing with 1-76 and 1-85 respectively and Tiripano and Mutombodzi took full advantage of their sub-par bowling.
Their partnership did not end until the second ball of the final over when Zimbabwe needed 20 runs as Al-Amin dismissed Mutombodzi for 34 runs.
Tiripano hit the next two balls for sixes bringing the equation down to six from last two balls, which nevertheless they failed to collect.
Bangladesh’s innings earlier revolved around Tamim with Mushfiqur Rahim (55 off 50) and Mahmudullah (41 off 57) playing the supporting act.
Opting to bat first after skipper Mashrafee won his second successive toss, the innings of Bangladesh did not start the way they had expected as Liton Das was run out for nine at the non-striker’s end.
Carl Mumba put a hand in a powerful drive of Tamim to break the stumps and dismiss the centurion in the previous innings.
But it was not the end of Bangladesh’s misfortune as one-down Nazmul Hossain was forced to sacrifice his wicket for Tamim after a mix-up.
Nazmul’s run out for six made Tamim curb his shots but Mushfiq took the charge to put 87-run for the third wicket to keep the scoreboard moving fast.
Mushfiq was out with a catch at long off by Mutombodzi off Madhevere before Tamim and Mahmudullah added 106 runs for the fourth wicket.
Tamim at 84 became the first Bangladeshi to complete 7,000 runs in ODIs and then pushed Sean Williams at long off to complete his 12th ODI hundred off 106 balls, his first ODI hundred since July 2018.
Mahmudullah was out with a brilliant catch of Madhevere at the deep but Tamim continued his terrific way to race past his previous record score of 154 runs against same opponents in 2009 in style with a six off Mumba.
He fell soon in the same over with a tired-looking shot as Mutombodzi completed the catch at long off.
Mumba and Tiripano did well to claim two wickets each and somewhat contain the lower-order batsmen but Mohammad Mithun’s unbeaten 32 off 18 balls still ensured a record score for Bangladesh.
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