Naeem Islam helps Bangladesh win a thriller
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Chittagong Divisional Stadium, Chittagong
Scorecard:Bangladesh v Zimbabwe
Player:BRM Taylor, Naeem Islam
Event:Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2009/10

DateLine: 5th November 2009


After the loss in the first match Shakib had made a bold prediction that Bangladesh would seal the series with the scoreline reading 4-1. In the next three matches his team played near flawless cricket with the peak performance coming in the fourth match where they dismissed a miserable Zimbabwe for just 44 runs.


Half-way through the contest the match was poised interestingly and towards the end of the Bangladeshi innings it seemed that Zimbabwe would get better of the hosts. The visitors had reduced the home team to 187 for 9 but what they did not expect was a blazing late-order hitting from Naeem Islam as he helped Bangladesh to a one wicket win.


Shakib won another toss and had no hesitation in electing to field first on a track that was fresh. Abdur Razzak continued his good form with the ball as he picked up the openers early to leave Zimbabwe at 18 for 2 in the eighth over. Elton Chigumbura played a short counterattacking innings as he clobbered the Bangladeshi bowlers to inject some momentum into the innings. He along with Taylor put on 62 runs for the third wicket and just when the it threatened the Bangladeshi side Mahumudullah removed the dangerous Chigumbura. Couple of balls later Mahumudullah removed Waller as the Zimbabwean innings slipped. Mahumudullah got Matsikenyeri stumped and then Shakib bagged the wickets of Forster Mutizwa and Chamu Chibhabha, to reduce Zimbabwe to 113 for 6 in 28.5 overs.


Taylor meanwhile realised that the Zimbabwe team was running short of resources and immediately shifted gears. The batting Powerplay still remained, and it proved extremely fruitful for Zimbabwe. Taylor quickly progressed to 99 when Price fell lbw to Razzak off the first ball of the 48th. Taylor got to his maiden one day century and once that landmark was achieved he launched an assault in the final over, ransacking 19 runs to give Zimbabwe a realistic chance of victory.


Bangladesh in reply could not put up a decent opening partnership as the Zimbabwean bowlers stuck to a disciplined line and length. With the series in the bag the Bangladeshi batsmen were complacent in their approach as they displayed a poor sense of shot-selection and also poor judgment in taking sharp singles. Tamim Iqbal had to retire early in his innings as he was visibly in some sort of discomfort. Ashraful showed promise early in his innings by lifting Price for a boundary but poor calling between wickets terminated his stay in the middle. Siddique who had played a couple of breezy innings in the series put his head down to play with caution though when the opportunity was presented he took full toll of it.


But he did not last long when he guided a short and wide ball from Mpofu straight to third man. Shakib joined Raqibul and the two led a recovery of sorts as they pushed the falling run-rate up with well placed singles and with odd boundaries. Cremer was able to draw out Raqibul with a flighted delivery to have him stumped to halt the chase. Rahim threw in the kitchen sink as he collected a couple of boundaries and a huge six but adrenaline rush got better of him as he top-edged a sweep to square leg and the Bangladeshi innings stuttered. The hosts then suffered a huge blow when Shakib was stumped of Matsikenyeri an a Bangladeshi win was receding fast.


Mahmudullah was joined in the middle by Naeem Islam and the two went about repairing the innings. The pair concentrated on taking the singles and when the opportunity presented themselves they got the boundaries. The duo soon began gnawing at the target and tension began to spread in the Zimbabwean camp. The pair added 69 runs in 16.5 overs to swing the match in their favour but Mahmudullah was unable to beat a direct throw when he tried to pinch a single and that send him back to the pavilion. Naeem Islam soon opened up and he began to get the boundaries. Razzak and Haque returned back to the pavilion without disturbing the scorers and Tamim, with his team in a tight spot, came out to bat. But he did not last long as another run-out packed him back to the comforts of the pavilion.


The batting powerplay was taken in the 46th over with 35 needed from 30 balls. Naeem Islam soon turned the heat on the Zimbabwean team with some aggressive shots. The turning point of the match came when he slammed an unimaginative Chibhabha thrice over the boundary ropes to shift the momentum in the favour of the hosts. A scrambled single in the last ball of the 49th over took them across the line


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