Vitori Shatters World Record

Bangladesh dug their own grave with a poor batting performance by their top order, while Brian Vitori set a new cricket record with another five-wicket haul.  Vusi Sibanda and Tatenda Taibu both hit fifties as Zimbabwe romped home with almost six overs to spare.

Zimbabwe again won the toss and, as in the first match, put Bangladesh in to bat, no doubt hoping for a repetition of the superb bowling that shattered the tourists’ top order on that occasion.  Chris Mpofu was less accurate this time, and Bangladesh scored 7 off his first over.  Brian Vitori however, was generally on the spot, apart from an occasional loose ball, but most of the batsmen were even unable to take advantage of these.

Tamim Iqbal was the first batsman to go, again dismissed by Vitori after he slashed at a ball moving away outside his off stump to give a head-high catch to first slip, having made 3 out of the total of 9.  Mpofu then took the wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim, skying an attempted pull to square leg.

Imrul Kayes and Shahriar Nafees both fell to catches in the covers while driving, perhaps a sign of the extra bounce.  Six wickets tumbled for 58 in 19 overs, and Brendan Taylor deserves credit for greater flexibility in his bowling changes, bringing on Prosper Utseya for the 11th over and seeing him take the wicket of Mahmadullah.  He also brought back Vitori earlier than he would have wanted in an effort to break a troublesome stand between Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain, and he quickly trapped the captain lbw for 26.

This reduced Bangladesh to 111 for seven after 35 overs.

Hossain, however, was batting with real spirit on his ODI debut, twice hooking short balls from Mpofu to the boundary, and he found an aggressive partner in Abdur Razzak.  The pair added 65 together in ten overs before Hossain holed out on the long-off boundary for a fine fighting innings of 63, scored off 92 balls.  The bowler was again Vitori, who now set up a new world record by taking nine wickets in his first two ODIs.  However, this late stand again aroused accusations that Zimbabwe, apart from Vitori, lacked the killer instinct to finish off a side that was on the ropes.

Vitori extended his record further with a fifth wicket, knocking out Razzak’s off stump as he went for the slog; his 35 had come off 32 balls.  A silly run-out ended the innings with the following delivery, for a total of 188, which just exceeded their inadequate total of the first match.  Vitori finished with the magnificent figures of five for 20; well as he bowled, the batsmen did not face him with any real resolution.  Raymond Price was the only bowler not to take a wicket; he was reasonably restrictive but he does not appear to be in his best form right now.

Zimbabwe soon lost the wicket of Taylor, who pushed forward at a ball from Shafiul Islam outside his off stump without getting over it and was caught low at second slip for 3.  Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza came together again and played cautiously at first, but they appeared to be under no pressure.  They began to push the ball around for ones and twos, and as they found their feet punctured the field with some handsome, well-placed boundaries.  The fifty came up in the 11th over.  As in the first match, they looked good enough to make a larger stand than actually materialised, for with the total on 87 Mahmadullah lured Masakadza down the pitch and had him stumped for 38.

Tatenda Taibu soon announced his presence by hitting a ball from Mahmadullah for a superb six over extra cover, which brought up the hundred in the 25th over, and then an even bigger, higher one over long-off.  With Sibanda also batting well and completing his fifty (77 balls) with a powerful straight four, the Zimbabwe batsmen were dominating the bowling in a way the Bangladeshis never looked like doing.  Rubel Hossain this time did not look like a threat with the old ball, but then the spinners Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain came on to bowl tightly and pin the batsmen down.  Sibanda came down the pitch when Mohammad Ashraful was brought on, and was stumped for 67; 146 for three in the 35th over.

Craig Ervine was extremely cautious, scoring just three runs off his first 22 balls, so the scoring slowed and Taibu had to make most of the running. When he was on 46 he pulled a ball straight to deep midwicket, but the chance went down.  He reached his fifty (72 balls) with a rare seven – he ran three for a delicate cut, while the good return from the deep clipped the stumps at the bowler’s end and went for four overthrows.  In the next over he pulled a four to win the match for his team, finishing unbeaten on 57.  Zimbabwe are now two-nil up in the five-match series and it is a must win situation for Shakib and his men on Tuesday.