By Kevin Mapasure
Zimbabwe will be targeting rare series whitewash when they walk out to face Bangladesh in the third and final one-day international (ODI) at Harare Sports Club this morning.
The hosts won the first two matches in sensational style, having to recover from difficult positions.
Today, they find themselves in unfamiliar territory as they stare at a whitewash win against a full-member side.
Again, Zimbabwe will go into this game limping with a number of players carrying injuries and could be forced into more changes.
But with the series wrapped up, the pressure will be on Bangladesh, who came into the series as overwhelming favourites, who now have questions to answer to their fans back home.
That they lost the series is already bad enough, but if they were to be whitewashed, it would only ramp up pressure on the Tamim Iqbal-captained side.
Zimbabwe stand in captain Regis Chakabva is hoping that the team can continue with the same form that they have been enjoying.
He is particularly pleased with the way the new guys are putting up their hands in pressure situations.
“It’s good to have guys come in, but it’s never easy when you have to make five changes. It’s good that the guys put their hands up,” he said before praising Tony Munyonga, who made his debut on Sunday’s five-wicket win and blasted a 16-ball 30 to wrap up the win.
“We know how good a player Tony is and he did well for us. This will give him a lot of confidence, but there is a lot of confidence in, and backing for the guys coming in. It is really nice when guys come and do well straight away.”
In the second ODI, Zimbabwe had to recover from 49 for 4 in the 15th over chasing 291 for victory and Sikandar Raza and Chakabva collaborated for a 201 fifth wicket partnership that rescued the hosts.
Following Chakabva’s dismissal, Munyonga showed that he was quite handy with the bat, hitting two sixes and as many boundaries for his 30 to guide Zimbabwe home together with Raza who carried his bat on 117 from 127 balls.
This was Raza’s second century of the series and Bangladesh coach, Russell Domingo was full of praise for the right hander.
“You have got to give credit to Zimbabwe, particularly Sikandar, he has played fantastically well. Two of the better one-day hundreds you will find under pressure. We left 20 runs out [in both the ODIs]. It is very difficult to defend in the afternoon. Zimbabwe thoroughly deserved the win in both those matches,” the South African said.
“They have had some amazing results and fantastic wins. Batting second here is a bit of a factor but there’s a lot of work to be done. Zimbabwe has four hundreds, we have got none. Bottom line is that you need hundreds to get match-winning scores.”
A whitewash would help Zimbabwe’s confidence ahead of the upcoming and more difficult matches against India and Australia.
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