Zimbabwe pulled off one of their more memorable wins in recent times, coming from behind to chase down a massive 304-run target against Bangladesh in the first ODI in Harare on August 5. No.3 Innocent Kaia and veteran allrounder Sikandar Raza made valiant hundreds in the run-chase to help their team secure an unlikely victory.
Reeling at 63 for 3 at one stage, the Zimbabweans refound their ground thanks to an excellent fourth-wicket stand between Kaia and Raza. The duo added 192 runs to put the pressure right back on Bangladesh, with Kaia going to score a wonderful maiden ODI hundred.
The 29-year-old right-hander smashed 110 off 122 deliveries, featuring 11 fours and 2 sixes, with Raza reinforcing his status as perhaps the finest Zimbabwean player in contemporary cricket by posting an unbeaten 135 and guiding his team through to a five-wicket win.
Raza was outstanding with his knock, glint with 8 fours and 6 sixes, that reversed the momentum of the game and propelled the hosts to the winning post with nearly two overs left.
Bangladesh had no response to the Kaia-Raza assault, especially when the latter of the two took things under control and started blasting them to all corners. Only two of their bowlers – Taskin Ahmed (0/52) and Mehidy Hasan (1/57) – ended with an economy rate of less than 6.
Bangladesh would’ve rued the fact that they didn’t post a more intimidating score on the board on a flat pitch. Opening batter Litton Das (81) top-scored for the innings before retiring hurt and was backed up fifties from skipper Tamim Iqbal (62), Anamul Haque (73) and veteran Mushfiqur Rahim (52*). But that big hundred, which would have taken Bangladesh to 320-330, was missing.
Before his terrific unbeaten century, Raza bagged figures of 1 for 48 in a restrictive but critical spell for the Zimbabweans. In a high-scoring fixture, his part-time spin helped the hosts keep the visitors in check.
With their win, Zimbabwe ended their 19-match losing streak in ODIs versus Bangladesh. The second game of the series will take place at Harare Sports Club on August 7.
Bangladesh 303/2 in 50 overs (Das 81*, Haque 73; Raza 1/48) lost to Zimbabwe 307/5 in 48.2 overs (Raza 135*, Kaia 110; Rahman 1/57) by 5 wickets