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Soumya, Imrul seal whitewash
Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar each hit a century as Bangladesh thrashed Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the third one-day international to complete a clean sweep victory in the three-match series in Chattogram on Friday.
Imrul made 115 off 112 balls while Soumya hit 117 off 92 balls, guiding Bangladesh to 288-3 after Sean Williams’ career best 129 not out helped Zimbabwe post 286-5 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Bangladesh victory was never in doubt once Imrul and Soumya added 220 runs for the second wicket after opener Liton Das was trapped leg-before off the first ball of the innings.
Imrul led the initial charge, reaching his fifty off only 41 balls, before Soumya, who was playing his first match in the series, took control of the innings to bring his second ODI century off 81 balls.
Occasional bowler Hamilton Masakadza forced Soumya to give a catch to Doland Tiripano at long on, ending his innings comprising of nine fours and six sixes, but Imrul remained firm to complete his second century of the series.
Imrul, who struck 144 and 90 runs in the previous two matches, ended the series with 349 runs, the highest by a Bangladeshi in a three-match bilateral series, overtaking Tamim Iqbal’s 312 runs against Pakistan in 2015.
Mushfiqur Rahim was unbeaten on 28 to complete Bangladesh’s 13th successive win over Zimbabwe.
Bangladesh got the kind of start they were looking for after Mashrafee bin Murtaza won his third successive toss in the series and opted to bowl when Mohammad Saifuddin bowled Cephas Zhuwao for a duck in only second over of the innings.
Left-arm pacer Abu Hider, one of the three changes for Bangladesh in the game, bowled Zimbabwe skipper Masakadza for two in the next over to leave the side struggling at 6-2.
The Tigers had the chance to put Zimbabwe under more pressure when Hider took the leading edge of Taylor to induce a catch. But the bowler could not hold onto the return catch despite diving forward, giving Taylor a life on six.
The drop appeared to be costly as Taylor added 132 runs with Williams for the third wicket to put the pressure back on Bangladesh.
Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam ended the partnership but could not distract Williams from batting with precision that rewarded him with only his second century of his career.
Willams received some support from Sikandar Raza, who helped him add 84 runs for the fourth wicket by making 40.
Nazmul also broke the stand to finish with 2-58 though some credit should also go to other bowlers, who maintained a tight length on a dead pitch to prevent Zimbabwe batsmen from going berserk.
Mahmudullah played a crucial role with ball, despite not picking any wicket as he conceded only 40 runs in his 10 overs that sometimes shackled Zimbabwe batsmen.