Skipper Shakib Al Hasan led from the front with a fighting innings of 79, before picking up two wickets as Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by 93 runs to win the fifth and final one-day international at Queens Sports Club on Sunday.
It was Bangladesh’s second successive win, but Zimbabwe still claimed the series 3-2 to add to their victory in the one-off Test between the two nations.
After being put in to bat, Bangladesh made 253 for six in their 50 overs, before Zimbabwe, who lost captain Brendan Taylor for a duck in the second over, were skittled out for 160 with more than 11 overs to spare.
“All the boys showed some character, that we are not here just to play the game. The newcomers have shown lots of promise, our fast bowlers have done well throughout the series,” Shakib said. “Everything came well in the last two games. We were coming off a break from international cricket, so it was not going to be easy for the guys.”
Taylor said there were many positives to take from the series, which had started with Zimbabwe’s first Test appearance in six years.
“Bit disappointed with the way we ended, but pretty chuffed with the series win, we will enjoy it,” Taylor told cricinfo.com. “We played well as a collective unit, the guys put their hands up and batted deep, bowlers did well and we fielded well. We are in a good place right now and it is nice to have options.”
Bangladesh had been 125 for five at one stage, before Shakib — whose 79 came off 71 balls, featuring five boundaries and a six — put on 109 for the sixth wicket with Mahmudullah, who made 60. It was Shakib’s 21st one-day century.
Mahmudullah was undefeated at the end of the 50 overs with his runs coming off 67 deliveries, with five boundaries and a six to match his captain in the big-hitting stakes.
Mahmudullah went on to claim three wickets with his off-breaks for just 13 runs.
Flamboyant opener Tamim Iqbal also confirmed his return to form with 45, but Mohammad Ashraful, brought back into the side, made only 15, while Imrul Kayes concluded a dismal tour with 9.
The innings ended in worrying circumstances when Zimbabwe seamer Keegan Meth took a full blooded drive on the jaw when halfway down the wicket after bowling a high full toss. X-rays showed no fracture, though he lost two teeth and another was chipped, and his injury prevented him from batting.
In Zimbabwe’s reply, Taylor was caught behind for a duck off the first ball of the second over. It was his fourth failure after smashing a century in the first match.
Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza dug deep as they put on 57 for the second wicket, but when they went and the experienced Tatenda Taibu fell leg before wicket to Shakib, Zimbabwe were 73-4 and the game was effectively up.
Malcolm Waller, after surviving a missed catch, went on to make a steady 51 off 78 balls, his second career one-day half-century, but Elton Chigumbura was caught for 1 and then the Zimbabwe tail collapsed.
Zimbabwe will face a tougher test next month when Pakistan arrive for one Test, three one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.