Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Nafees powers Bangladesh to victory


Bangladesh's Abdur Razzak, left, celebrates taking the final wicket of the Zimbawean innings during the ICC Champions Trophy match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at the Swai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur on Friday. Bangladesh won by 101 runs.


Young opening batsman Shahriar Nafees smashed a record-breaking century on Friday as Bangladesh hammered Zimbabwe by 101 runs in its final ICC Champions Trophy qualifying match between the two bottom placed teams.

Led by Nafees' unbeaten 123, Bangladesh made 231 for six off its 50 overs before Zimbabwe went off track in pursuit of its target and was bowled out for 130 in 44.4 overs.

Zimbabwe finished at the bottom of the four-team qualifying round from which Sri Lanka and defending champion West Indies have earned their berths in the main draw that begins from today.

"Things went according to the plan and our spinners did well in defending the total," said a relieved-looking Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar as his team was beaten by Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the two qualifying matches.

Two bizarre run-outs of Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri did not help Zimbabwe's cause with only opener Brendan Taylor offering much resistance before he was stumped for 52 off 74 balls midway through the innings.

Left-arm spinners Saqibul Hasan and experienced Mohammad Rafique were the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers with three and two wickets respectively.

Earlier, Nafees, a 20-year-old left-hander, hit 17 boundaries and a six in a 161-ball knock -- his second limited-overs century against Zimbabwe in two months.

"I like to play strokes but today the wicket did not suit my style of batting and that's why I took so many deliveries," said Nafees.

Nafees also became the only Bangladesh batsman to have crossed the three figure mark twice in only his 28th limited-overs international.

He had earlier scored an unbeaten 118 -- the previous highest ever total by a Bangladesh batsman in a limited-overs game at Harare in August during Bangladesh's 3-2 loss to Zimbabwe.

"I tried to stay at the wicket as long as possible and in the end we got a good total to defend," Nafees said.

Zimbabwe's new ball bowlers made an early impact after captain Prosper Utseya won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Rajin Saleh (6) -- coming in for out of form Mohammad Ashraful -- was out leg before wicket while attempting to pull Ed Rainsford. Wicketkeeper Taylor dived full length to his left and grabbed a low one-handed catch after an Anthony Ireland delivery brushed the gloves of Aftab Ahmed (3) that reduced Bangladesh to 26 for 2 in the 10th over.

Nafees then repaired the early damage with two solid half century partnerships. He added 83 runs with Saqibul Hasan (36) and then shared an 80-run stand with Bashar (30).

Nafees, who consumed 92 balls for his half century, brought up his century in the 44th with a single as Bangladesh made 70 runs in the last 10 overs.

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