Ishan Kishan scores rapid fifty, announces his arrival with six on first ball of ODI career
18 July 2021
It might have just taken a lucky four on the last ball of the 49th over to ease the pressure put on by the Zimbabwe unit throughout the Bangladesh chase, but star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan caressing the first ball of the 50th over by Blessing Muzarabani to four past the point was probably the fitting end to a match that was fought evenly till the very end.
Shakib missed out on his hundred by just four runs but would have been more than relieved to see his team home, which at one point in time looked unbelievable, to say the least. At 145-6 with all the recognised batsmen, except Shakib back in the hut, Zimbabwe fancied themselves to get a win and take the series to the finale.
However, the 34-year-old had other ideas as he first added 28 for the seventh wicket with Afif Hossain to take the game close and then an unbeaten 69 off just 64 balls with Mohammad Saifuddin to see the Tigers home.
The only real chance that the Zimbabwe players got to remove Shakib was in the 48th over, when trying to go over the inner circle, he almost hit to short third man, but the jump by Richard Ngarava wasn’t well-timed and the ball could only touch his palms and ricochet towards the boundary.
The chase of 241 by the Men in Green and Red wasn’t up to the mark at all as captain Tamim Iqbal and last match centurion Liton Das were out even before the team fifty could be reached. Soon, they were 75-4 with youngsters Mosaddek Hossain and Mohammad Mithun letting go of an opportunity to do well.
Mahmudullah tried to stitch in partnership together, but it could only last 55 runs as Muzarabaniu removed the right-hand batter. Soon, Mehidy Hasan was removed too to get Bangladesh in all sorts of trouble and that’s when Shakib decided to take things in control.
Earlier in the day, on the back of a Wesely Madhevere half-century and some important contributions by skipper Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza and Regis Chakabva, Zimbabwe were able to get to 240. However, the highlight of the innings was the bizarre ghit wicket of Taylor. He was given out when he hit the bails with his bat after the ball was out of play and he had already hit a shot and was shadow practising.
Having now won the series Bangladesh wouldn’t want to let it go easy in the third match as every match counts for the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League and with three wins from this series they would remain top of the table in the league. While Zimbabwe would look to at least get one back to salvage some pride with the final game on Tuesday, July 20.