Vusi Sibanda’s second one-day century guided Zimbabwe to a rare series victory as they beat Bangladesh by seven wickets in Wednesday’s third one-day international at Queens Sports Club.
Sibanda had passed 50 on 19 previous occasions and converted only one of those innings to three figures, but he made the most of two dropped catches to hit the winning runs and finish unbeaten on 103 not out with Zimbabwe having more than two overs to spare.
The result also prompted Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim to announce he was stepping down.
Having limited Bangladesh to 247-9 in their 50 overs, Zimbabwe made a solid start to their reply as Sibanda put on 79 for the first wicket with Hamilton Masakadza, who made 41.
That was followed by a 56-run stand between Sibanda and Sikandar Raza, but when the pair became bogged down in the middle overs, Bangladesh hit back with a couple of wickets that left the match in the balance.
However Sibanda was joined by Sean Williams, who recorded his second consecutive half-century to finish unbeaten on 55 as Zimbabwe cruised home with 17 balls to spare.
“It wasn’t easy to get dropped from the team for the first ODI in the series, but obviously I had to keep my head up and concentrate on making the most of the chance when it came,” Sibanda said. “I hope this is the beginning of more hundreds to come.”
Bangladesh’s innings was once again reliant on the lower order, with Mahmudullah’s career-best 75 not out and Nasir Hossain’s 63 rescuing the tourists from a position of 110-5.
Zimbabwe’s seamers had made the most of the advantage provided to them by a 9am start, with left-armer Brian Vitori striking twice in his second over.
Although Mushfiqur and Tamim Iqbal led a brief recovery, both departed in the space of three overs before Shakib Al Hasan fell victim to part-time left-arm spinner Williams.
A 79-run stand between Mahmudullah and Nasir clawed Bangladesh forward, but when Nasir departed with a little more than seven overs remaining there was still plenty of work to be done.
At that point Mahmudullah had just 28 from 44 deliveries, but he found the boundary with increasing regularity and added 25 to his total in the last two overs alone.
Nevertheless it was not enough, as Zimbabwe clinched their first one-day series win since Bangladesh’s last visit in August 2011.
“It’s massive for us,” captain Brendan Taylor said. “This is probably the third series win in all formats in eight or nine years for me, so it’s big for the guys.”
“It should give us the confidence to push on and keep believing that we can at least win at home. We’re over the moon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mushfiqur said he will quit as captain of Bangladesh after the two Twenty20 internationals against Zimbabwe this weekend.
The Tigers began their tour of Zimbabwe as favorites after an encouraging trip to Sri Lanka, but lost the first Test by 335 runs before winning the second to earn a share of the series.
“This is probably my last tour as captain,” he told reporters. “I will resign once we get back to Dhaka.”
“The reason is the way we lost the games and at the same time I failed to perform,” Mushfiqur said. “I think I failed to lead my team, so the two T20 matches will be my last as captain.”
The 24-year-old only took over as captain in September 2011, after his predecessor Shakib Al Hasan was removed from the job.