Sikandar Raza’s golden run ended with a golden duck as his Zimbabwe side lost by 105 runs to Bangladesh on Wednesday in the third one-day international in Harare. An unbeaten 85 by Afif Hossain lifted Bangladesh to 256-9 in 50 overs when put in to bat and Mustafizur Rahman then took 4-17 as Zimbabwe were all out for just 151 in 32.2 overs. Pakistan-born Raza batted brilliantly in guiding Zimbabwe to a winning 2-0 lead in the three-game series last weekend, hitting unbeaten knocks of 135 and 117 in superb run chases for two five-wicket victories. But the 36-year-old, whose childhood dream to be a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force was dashed by an eyesight glitch, finally met his match in ODI debutant Ebadot Hossain.
Facing his first ball with Zimbabwe reeling at 17-3, Raza fell victim to an inswinging yorker that flattened the middle and off stumps. “It would have been nice to score lots of runs and win again, but my mood does not change when I fail to do so,” said Raza.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to play cricket for Zimbabwe, to enjoy life and be in good health. India will be here next week for three one-day internationals and all of us are looking forward to that huge challenge.”
Raza skippered Zimbabwe on Wednesday after wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva — standing in for injured captain Craig Ervine during the series — sprained a hand.
Reacting to the first ODI victory on the tour, Afif said: “I think we played very well but we have to improve our bowling and today we did very well with the ball. We are ready for the Asia Cup later this month and, hopefully, we will then get some rest before resuming our cricket careers.”
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal hailed Afif, saying “I felt the wicket was good again today and I thought the way Afif batted was really pleasing.
“We were under pressure, but whenever Afif was on strike, he never looked under pressure. He batted extremely well.”
After Raza departed, Zimbabwe were heading for a hiding as wickets fell cheaply until tail-enders Richard Ngarava and Victor Nyauchi came together and put on 68 for the final wicket.
Unbeaten top scorer Ngarava made 34, including a six and six fours, while Nyauchi contributed 26. Apart from the four wickets of Mustafizur, Ebadot and Taijal Islam captured two each for the tourists.
Hossain faced 81 balls and struck two sixes and six fours as seventh-ranked Bangladesh — eight places above Zimbabwe — regained some pride at the end of the six-match visit to southern Africa.
Opener Anamul Haque was the other visiting batsman to post a half-century, scoring 76 before edging a Luke Jongwe delivery outside off stump to debutant wicketkeeper Clive Madande. Like Afif, Anamul scored quicker than a run a ball in his innings, which included four sixes and six fours.
A cautious 39 from Mahmudullah Riyad was the other significant Bangladeshi knock as they reached their lowest total in the series having scored 303 runs in the first ODI and 290 in the second. Jongwe and Brad Evans took two wickets each for Zimbabwe, who have won nine of 11 ODI and T20 matches since former captain Dave Houghton began a second stint as coach in June.
Before the ODI matches, Zimbabwe edged Bangladesh 2-1 in a T20 series after winning a thrilling final match by 10 runs. After a brief break, Zimbabwe will host India in a three ODI series from August 18, also at Harare Sports Club.
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