Soumya Sarkar scored a brilliant 117 while Imrul Kayes's made a super scintillating 115 as Bangladesh swept the three-match series with an emphatic seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Soumya, who was included in the last minute, made his opputunity count Soumya and Kayes combined for a 220-run for Bangladesh's highest second wicket partnership, eclipsing Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan's 207 against West Indies this year, to set the team for yet another facile victory after Zimbabwe put on 286 for five, thanks to Sean Williams's career best 129 not out.Bangladesh chased it down in just 42.1 overs with 288 for three, treating the Zimbabwe bowling disdainfully on the way to their 13 straight ODI victories against the Southern African nation.
Bangladesh's start was however a stark contrast to what transpired later. Kyle Jarvis gave Zimbabwe a glimmer of hope to end their 12-match losing, dismissing Liton Das in the first ball of the innings for 0. Liton took a review in vain.
But his dismissal only paved the way of an entertaining show, worth for money for holiday crowd in a packed stadium. Having been in and out from the team for the last couple of years, Soumya decided to make it his day, but not sacrificing his natural game.Showing a six-hitting spree, he reminded the Soumya of old by cutting throw Zimbabwe attack in surgical manner and suddenly made the contest a one-sided affair.
His entertaining 92 ball-117, studded with nine fours and six sixes, ended when he played one shot too many but Bangladesh were in a position of dominance, from where Zimbabwe needed miracle to pull the heist.
His 220-run partnership with Kayes, was also Bangladesh's second best for any wicket, just behind Shakib and Mahmudullah's 224 for the fifth wicket stand against New Zealand in last year's Champions Trophy.
Kayes who struck 115 off 112, smacking 10 fours and two sixes was serene as usually and brought up his second century in the last three matches. In doing so, he ended up with 349 runs in the series, the second best by any batsman in three-match ODI series, behind Pakistan's Babar Azam's 360.In line with Bangladesh's aggression, Mushfiqur Rahim, unbeaten on 28, fittingly signed off the game with a six over deep mid-wicket.
Earlier Sean Williams's career best 129 not out and Brendan Taylor's 75 gave struggling Zimbabwe an impetus. Bangladesh left Zimbabwe in tittering six for two in five overs, after Mashrafe Mortaza again opted to bowl first, keeping the dew factor in mind. As the thing got worsened, Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor found a way to recover from the collapse, by thwarting highly spirited Bangladesh bowlers.
Mixed with caution and aggression, they stitched together a 132-run for the third wicket stand before Taylor perished to a slog sweep against left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu to be out on his consecutive second 75 runs.Taylor, the aggressor of the duo, hit eight fours and three sixes in a knock of 73 balls, executing reverse-sweep and slog sweep to precision.
Williams came out from the shell, once Taylor was departed. This time he found Sikandar Raza in his support as the duo kept the flow, provided by Taylor.They shared 84 off 93 balls and were such utter control that 300 plus score looked imminent but Raza unfortunately lost his wicket to a full toss delivery of Apu before scoring 40 off 51 with two fours and a six.
Having scored nine fifty plus score against Bangladesh previously, Williams then broke his century-jinx and put some lusty blow, alongside Peter Moor to take the side closer to 300.Despite bowling so badly, Nazmul Islam Apu ended with two for 58, the highest for Bangladesh in the match while Abu Haider and Saifuddin claimed one apiece.
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