Zimbabwe – 298 all out in 49.3 overs (Regis Chakabva 84, Ryan Burl 59, Sikandar Raza 57; Mustafizur Rahman 3/57, Mohammad Saifuddin 3/87, Mahmudullah 2/45)
Bangladesh – 302-5 in 48 overs (Tamim Iqbal 112, Nurul Hasan 45*, Liton Das 32; Wessly Madhevere 2/45, Donald Tiripano 2/61, Luke Jongwe 1/44)
Bangladesh won by five wickets
Regis Chakabva, Ryan Burl and Sikandar Raza notched brilliant half-centuries to help Zimbabwe to a total of 298, giving them a great chance of a victory over Bangladesh in the third and final one-day international at Harare Sports Club today.
However, when they chased the target, Bangladesh proved equal to the task as they cruised to a five-wicket victory, led by a century from their captain, Tamim Iqbal, thus winning the series by three matches to nil.
The tourists won the toss and put Zimbabwe in to bat on what soon proved to be the best batting pitch of the series.
Zimbabwe made two changes, bringing in Burl and Donald Tiripano for Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Richard Ngarava.
This time Chakabva was promoted to open the batting with Tadiwanashe Marumani.
Chakabva took a single and then played an excellent clip off his legs from Mohammad Saifuddin to the square-leg boundary, and then cut another boundary past point.
He then took two fours in three balls from Mustafizur Rahman, while Marumani, going for a big hit off a ball from Taskin Ahmed, got a top edge that flew for six over the slips.
Apart from this Marumani found scoring difficult and, resorting to the sweep, found himself lbw to Shakib Al Hasan for eight off 19 balls; 36 for one in the ninth over.
Brendan Taylor took care to play himself in and built a useful partnership with Chakabva.
They put on 42 together, and Taylor, now accelerating, had 28 when he drove to be caught at mid-off from Mahmudullah’s bowling; 78 for two in the 18th over.
Dion Myers looked confident from the moment he came in and soon moved down the pitch to drive Shakib over long-off for four.
The team hundred came up after 22 overs, and then Chakabva reached his fifty, which came off 62 balls.
This partnership looked the most impressive so far, with both batsmen in complete command of the bowling, as they were soon scoring off almost every ball.
However, just when the situation was looking so good, Myers tried to cut a ball from Mahmudullah that was too full and too close for that stroke, only to play it on to his stumps.
He had scored 34 off 38 balls of a partnership worth 71 runs, and Zimbabwe were 149 for three in the 30th over.
Wessly Madhevere (3) did not last long, as he was deceived by a slower ball from Mustafizur and popped up a simple catch to midwicket; 156 for four.
Immediately before the second drinks interval, Chakabva’s excellent innings, his highest in ODIs, came to an end, soon after he had uppercut a ball from Taskin over third man for six.
Unfortunately he was beaten by a yorker from the same bowler, trying to hit it across the line and being clean-bowled for 84, which came off 91 balls and included seven fours and that six.
Zimbabwe now appeared to be losing their grip at 172 for five in the 35th over.
Two new batsmen were now at the crease in Raza and Burl.
Burl took time to find his feet, but Raza was soon batting superbly, playing all his strokes and pulling a rare short ball from Shakib for a huge six.
As Burl began to play some strokes with success, Raza ran to his fifty off 49 balls, a fine innings at exactly the right time for the team.
This turned out to be Burl’s day as, in the 45th and 46th overs, he hit three big sixes off successive balls he faced, one off Mustafizur and two off Saifuddin.
Later in the latter’s over, which cost 22 runs, he reached his fifty off only 38 balls.
In Mustafizur’s next over, Raza lost his wicket going for another big hit and skying a catch into the covers.
He scored 57 off 54 balls and the partnership had put on 112 for the sixth wicket in only 13 overs.
Burl hit another six to reach his highest ODI score of 59 off 43 balls before being caught on the long-off boundary – he hit four sixes and four fours and the total was 294 for seven in the 49th over.
Donald Tiripano now joined Luke Jongwe and, having to hit at everything at this stage, played his first ball on to his stumps as he went for it outside the off stump.
Two singles followed, and then Saifuddin took a third wicket in the over when Tendai Chatara (1) also played on.
The final over arrived with the score on 296 for nine, but after a single to Jongwe and a wide, Mustafizur bowled Blessing Muzarabani without scoring to end the innings on 298, with three deliveries to spare.
The last five wickets had fallen in 13 legal deliveries, but Zimbabwe finished with a fine total.
Mustafizur finished with three wickets for 57 and Saifuddin with the remarkable figures of three for 87 in eight overs.
After the break, Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal opened the batting for Bangladesh against the bowling of Muzarabani and Chatara.
Muzarabani conceded only a single off his first over, but Chatara went for 10, including two fours by Liton.
The two batsmen were in fine form, and it soon became evident that it would take very fine bowling from Zimbabwe to restrict them.
Unfortunately, Chatara could not provide that as Tamim hit him for a six and two fours off successive balls, bringing up the fifty after eight overs.
Tamim’s own fifty came off 46 balls, with Tiripano also proving expensive, but when Zimbabwe turned belatedly to spin, Madhevere’s off-breaks did the trick.
Liton went for the sweep and got a top edge, which Marumani caught behind square leg – he made 32 off 37 balls, and the score was 88 for one in the 15th over.
Shakib, in next, was soon getting after the runs, and pulled a long hop from Madhevere for six.
Both batsmen took runs almost at will off the bowlers, punishing rather too many poor balls readily, and it came as a surprise when Shakib slashed rather loosely at a ball from Jongwe outside the off stump and was given out caught at the wicket off the inside edge for 30; 147 for two in the 26th over.
Mohammad Mithun played quietly while Tamim attacked the bowling, and an off-drive for four off the returning Chatara took him to his 14th ODI century, scored off only 87 balls.
The drinks break proved a useful ally for Zimbabwe, as Tamim pushed at a ball from Tiripano outside his off stump and edged in to the keeper.
He had scored 112 off 97 balls, with eight fours and three sixes, and Bangladesh were 204 for three wickets.
Mahmudullah came in and immediately Tiripano struck again, as the batsman pushed his bat at the next ball, just outside his off stump, and got an inside edge that Chakabva held well low down.
Tiripano was on a hat-trick, but Nurul Hasan steered the ball past point for a boundary.
Mithun and Nurul did not take long to settle in together, and soon were scoring fluently all round the field.
Nurul and Afif Hossain took their team home safely by five wickets, the winning runs coming through a consecutive six and four by Afif off Jongwe with two overs to spare.
The final total was 302 for five wickets, with Nurul on 45 and Afif 26.
Madhevere again was perhaps the most effective of the bowlers, with two for 45 off 10 overs.
Tiripano also took two wickets, but they cost him 61 runs off seven overs.