By Kevin Mapasure
Zimbabwe 307 for 5 (Raza 135*, Kaia 110, Mustafizur 1-57) beat Bangladesh 303 for 2 (Litton 81, Anamul 73, Raza 1-48) by five wickets
The Chevrons created another carnival atmosphere with a brilliant batting performance to beat Bangladesh by five wickets in the first of the three-match One Day Internationals at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Sikandar Raza Butt was the hero, again, with a quick-fire century, but the innings were anchored by Innocent Kaia who scored 110 off 122 balls.
Raza cracked 135 runs off just 109 balls which featured eight fours and five maximums having arrived in the middle with Zimbabwe in trouble at 62 for 3 after 13.1 overs.
Kaia’s century featured 11 fours and two sixes.
Remarkably, the two fought through the pain, limping throughout their innings after suffering knocks.
This was Zimbabwe’s first win over Bangladesh in 20 matches, with their last victory over the Tigers coming in 2013.
It was another exciting batting performance as Zimbabwe chased down an imposing total of 303 for 2 in 50 overs.
In truth Bangladesh were probably 20 or so runs short considering they had eight wickets in hand.
Zimbabwe cricket fans could be forgiven for losing hope when they lost both openers inside the first two overs to leave the hosts stuttering at 6 for 2.
After Wessley Madhevere was run out for 19 after a mix up with Kaia, it was not looking good for Zimbabwe after Ryan Burl had limped off the field during Bangladesh’s innings and they were also missing Sean Williams.
Yet when Raza arrived the question that lingered was whether he would have an able partner to chase down the big total.
Kaia proved the able partner as the two collaborated for to carry Zimbabwe within sight of a famous win.
By the time Kaia departed for 110 and with Zimbabwe on 254 for 4 in the 42nd over, the song and dance had since amplified with the colorful crowd seeing a forgone conclusion.
Before that having lost the toss, Bangladesh had enjoyed an almost trouble-free innings losing just two wickets for their total with Litton Dias retiring hurt on 81 from 89 balls which featured nine fours and one six.
His opening partner and skipper Tamim Iqbal hit 62 runs as the opening partnership gave their team a solid start with a 119-run first wicket opening stand.
Iqbal perished after he was undone by Raza with Kaia completing the catch to break the partnership.
When Diaz was stretchered off, Bangladesh were on 171 coasting well and it was not looking good for Zimbabwe who had attracted a sizeable home crowd following success in the T-20 series.
Anamul Haque was particularly destructive as he belted 73 runs off just 62 balls, hitting six boundaries while clearing it on three occasions.
Mishfiqur Rahim also had a half century hitting an undefeated 52 while at the other end Mahmudullah was on 20 not out.
Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva, Tarisai Musakanda, Innocent Kaia, Wessley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza, Victor Nyauchi, Richard Ngarava
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Litton Dias, Anamul Bijoy, Mishfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Afif Hossain, Mehidy Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Musaddek Saikat