Bangladesh – 256-9 in 50 overs (Afif Hossain 85*, Anamul Haque 76, Mahmudullah 39; Luke Jongwe 2/38, Brad Evans 2/53, Sikandar Raza 1/42)
Zimbabwe – 151 all out in 32.2 overs (Richard Ngarava 34*, Victor Nyauchi 26, Clive Madande 24; Mustafizur Rahman 4/17, Taijul Islam 2/34, Ebadot Hossain 2/38)
Bangladesh won by 105 runs
Richard Ngarava and Victor Nyauchi produced a record last-wicket stand but their thrilling cameo was too little too late as Zimbabwe fell to Bangladesh by 105 runs in the third and final one-day international (ODI) match at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
However, the home side had already wrapped up the series after winning the first two matches and were looking to make it a whitewash.
Zimbabwe’s acting captain, Regis Chakabva, was unable to play due to injury and so the leadership was passed on to Sikandar Raza, while Clive Madande came in as wicket-keeper.
The hosts completed a clean sweep of winning the toss, having done so in all six matches of the tour, and again Raza put Bangladesh in to bat.
Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque began for Bangladesh against the bowling of Ngarava and Nyauchi, and made quite a good start, putting on 41 together, before in the ninth over they had a mix-up over a possible single and Tamim was run out after making 19 off 30 balls.
This started a minor collapse, as in the following over Brad Evans had Najmul Hossain Shanto caught by Wessly Madhevere at backward point and then Mushfiqur Rahim caught at third man, both without scoring, to make the score 47 for three wickets.
Mahmudullah came in to start cautiously, and the score rose slowly for a while until Anamul reached his fifty off 48 balls.
Both batters now began to play more aggressively, with Anamul in particular looking to hit boundaries.
He was looking dangerous when, finally, Luke Jongwe bowled him a good delivery outside the off stump which he edged to Madande behind the stumps, having scored 77 off 74 balls, with four sixes and six fours – the score was 124 for four in the 25th over.
Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain shared a useful partnership together without ever really dominating the bowlers, until Ngarava returned and with his first ball dismissed Mahmudullah, who tried to cut him but only dragged the ball on to his stumps.
He scored 39 off 69 balls, the score now being 173 for five in the 35th over.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, in next, scored 14 before Raza removed him lbw at 206 for six off 42 overs.
Afif soon reached his fifty off 58 balls, and opened up to Ngarava for four and six off successive deliveries, but he lost Taijul Islam, run out by Tadiwanashe Marumani for five, and Hasan Mahmud, chasing a ball from Jongwe to be caught at the wicket without scoring.
Eight wickets were now down for 236 in the 48th over, which became 241 for nine as in the scramble for runs Mustafizur Rahman was run out attempting a stolen bye.
With the last man Ebadot Hossain in, Afif did his best to boost the score, but only 12 runs came off an erratic last over from Jongwe, and the final total was 356 for nine.
Afif finished with 85 not out off 81 balls, with two sixes and six fours.
Evans took two for 53 in eight overs and Jongwe two for 38 in six.
When Zimbabwe batted, there was no encouraging start from their new opening pair, Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Marumani.
Five extras were on the board when, off the fifth ball of the opening over from Hasan Mahmud, Kaitano tried to flick a ball swinging in to him on the leg side, and was adjudged lbw.
In the second over, bowled by Mehidy, Marumani (1) charged down the pitch but failed to reach the ball, which hit his off stump.
Innocent Kaia and Madhevere played very cautiously for three overs, but then Ebadot produced a superb delivery that flew off the shoulder of Madhevere’s bat and was caught at point – 18 for three.
The next delivery confirmed Zimbabwe’s doom, as Ebadot bowled a swinging yorker, and Raza could only jab down on it too late and chop it into his stumps.
At 18 for four in the sixth over, and with only Kaia of the specialist batters left, Zimbabwe had as good as surrendered the match as they wilted against fine bowling.
Kaia defiantly struck Hasan for two successive fours, but when the left-arm spinner Taijul came on, he failed to read his arm ball and was trapped lbw for 10, leaving Zimbabwe reeling on 31 for five.
Tony Munyonga hit a few blows before he was sixth out at 49, scoring 13 before going down the pitch and missing a slog to leg, to be stumped.
At last, when it was too late for the team, Madande and Jongwe put up a fight for the seventh wicket.
They put on 28 together in seven overs before Jongwe became another batter to leap down the pitch and try to slog a boundary, and he was easily caught at cover for 15, scored off 25 balls, at 77 for seven.
Madande soon followed, after he skyed an attempted pull off Mustafizur and was caught at the wicket for 24 off 45 balls – 83 for eight.
Three balls later Evans skyed a ball from the same bowler to be caught at point for two.
Ngarava showed some fight, smashing two leg-side fours and a six in an over from Mehidy to take the score to 97 with nine wickets down.
Four byes too Zimbabwe’s score past 100, as Nyauchi and Ngarava kept the spectators entertained with their plucky batting.
Their gallant effort came to an end at 151, when Nyauchi, backing away to slog, was bowled out by Mustafizur for 26, scored off 32 balls with a six and three fours.
To Ngarava fell the honour of being the team’s highest scorer and remaining unbeaten, having made 34 not out off only 26 balls, with a six and six fours.
Their partnership of 68 is a new Zimbabwe record for the last wicket in ODIs, beating the 60 scored by Shingi Masakadza and Ian Nicolson against Ireland in Harare in 2010/11.
Mustafizur was the most successful bowler of the match, taking four wickets for only 17 runs, while there were two wickets for Ebadot and Taijul.
Thus Zimbabwe claimed the ODI series – as they had won the Twenty20 internationals – by two victories to one.