Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva’s breathtaking 201-run partnership propelled Zimbabwe to their second straight victory and the three-match ODI series victory over Bangladesh.
Hasan Mahmud’s early two-strike collapse caused Zimbabwe, who were chasing Bangladesh’s 290, to lose their way early in the innings, losing their top four with just 49 scored after fifteen overs. A 201-run stand was put on by Raza and Chakabva.
To surprise the visitors, Zimbabwe counterattacked using Raza and Chakabva. Despite Raza starting the stand with a few sixes in back-to-back overs, the latter assumed the role of the aggressor. Compared to Raza, Chakabva started off more slowly, but she picked up speed as the fifty-run stand took just 55 balls.
Mehidy Hasan’s botched attempt at a run-out gave the partnership more room to grow, and Chakabva hit four consecutive boundaries off Taskin Ahmed to reach a 36-ball fifty.
The duo reached their hundreds in the 43rd over, Raza for the second time in a row and Chakabva for the first time. When Chakabva was out in the following over, Raza continued to bat until Tony Munyonga’s cameo brought the pursuit to an immediate stop.
Tamim earlier gave Bangladesh a faster start with ten fours and a six in his 45-ball innings. In a quick-fire 71-run opening stand with Anamul Haque, he was the dominant partner.
The loss of both batters within the span of ten balls, however, caused the innings to falter. Soon after reaching fifty, Tamim collapsed, dragging Tanaka Chivanga right into deep-grasp. midwicket’s Chivanga also contributed to Anamul’s run-out by intercepting a straight shot with his fingers at the non-end striker’s with Anamul outside the crease.
The momentum was stopped midway through Bangladesh’s innings by these wickets. However, a quick 50-run partnership between Najmul Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim helped to steady the innings. Both were victims of Wesley Madhevere’s off spin after getting off to slow starts and unable to pick up the pace. Najmul edged a cut attempt and was caught behind while Rahim was out for a slog sweep.
Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah’s fifth-wicket partnership of 81 runs off 84 balls kept the innings from faltering once more. The latter succumbed when Zimbabwe mishandled a reverse sweep against Sikandar Raza as the game entered the last overs. Mehidy Hasan and Taskin Ahmed both lost their lives to him shortly after, making him the first of the spinner’s three wickets. Mahmudullah kept upping the ante as Bangladesh poured on 57 runs in the final six overs to finish with a challenging goal in between this collapse.
On a side note, valuable to the team’s overall athletic performance, Sikandar Raza says that the mental environment in the team’s dressing room is excellent, he happily shares. The results say it well. Against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe snapped an ODI losing run of 19 games.
In the midst of a winning streak since making a comeback in the home series against Bangladesh in 2021, Sikandar Raza has additional motivation for the opening ODI of the series against the same opposition in Harare on Friday. While Raza was a member of the Zimbabwean team that defeated Bangladesh in 2013, the team had lost 19 straight T20 matches until ending the losing skid on Friday.
Zimbabwe was down to 62 for 3 and in need of a strong stand while attempting to chase a daunting 304. Innocent Kaya and Raza joined forces, but the older pro found it difficult to continue after being injured on his knee by a Taskin Ahmed delivery off an inside edge in the 26th over.
“When I pulled that ball I had an inside edge and it went on to the inside of my knee where there was no padding,” Raza said. “It was tough at that point but the way I felt at that time was that the momentum was starting to shift towards us and Inno was batting really well. I didn’t want a new batter to come and start again. I was also thinking that if I have to comeback (after being retired hurt) in next 30-40 minutes, I have to start again.” says Raza.
He even adds. “So all I wanted was to buy my time out there, and I said to myself if I give myself time, the body gets warm and then take medicine, use the spray and Inshallah we see where I am at. Yeah the first 40 minutes was really tough but Alhamdulillah it worked out pretty well in the end.”