SYLEHT Liton Das struck a highest individual score by a Bangladeshi batsman while Tamim Iqbal brought up his second successive century as Bangladesh crushed Zimbabwe by 123 runs in Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s final match as captain at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
By winning the rain-hit third and final ODI of the series, Bangladesh also completed a fourth straight and overall fifth whitewash on Zimbabwe.
Liton, who smashed 16 fours and eight sixes for his 143 ball-176, his third ODI century and second in the series, grabbed the record from his opening partner Tamim, who struck 158 runs only in the previous match of the series.
Tamim remained not out on 128 off 109 for his 13th ODI centuries, hitting seven fours and six sixes.
The duo combined for a 292-run partnership, comfortably the highest for Bangladesh in any wicket, surpassing the 224 by Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah for the fifth wicket in a thrilling victory against New Zealand at Cardiff in 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
Their record-breaking partnership helped Bangladesh put up a hefty 322-3 in a game, which turned out to be 43-overs a side after a spell of shower put a brake on the match for two hours and 38 minutes.
As per revised condition, Zimbabwe’s target was set 342 from 43 overs and they could manage only 218 in 37.3 overs.
Tamim-Liton pair also broke 21-year old record opening partnership by Shahriar Hossain Biddut and Mehrab Hossain Opee, who shared 224, also against Zimbabwe in 1999.
On a day, when Mashrafe was playing his last match as captain, the record feat by Tamim and Liton set the platform of giving him a perfect farewell.
Before the rain arrived, Bangladesh which was asked to bat first, reached 182-0 with Liton Das notching up his third and second century of the series. Tamim was on 79 runs on that time.
While Liton began in aggressive fashion, Tamim looked bit shaky but still found some boundaries that gave him the confidence with the time progressed.
Liton meantime reached his half-century off 54, taking the Zimbabwe bowlers in sheer disdain.
The right-hand batsman brought us his century with an elegant cut behind point for four off 114 balls. By doing so, he also reached 1000 ODI runs in 36 matches. Tamim however regrouped well to reach his half-century off 60 balls, before pacing up his innings. As the duo looked set for bigger things, rain arrived to force Bangladesh alter their plan.
When it looked the interruption cause by the rain could hamper their concentration, both of them changed the gear in intriguing fashion as the game restarted.
With much audacity, they made the Zimbabwe bowlers clueless and disarray and Liton once again was to the fore. All of this eight sixes came after the game restarted.
They were also aided by an awful Zimbabwe fielders who shelled at least five catches at this juncture as Bangladesh struck 140 off just 58 balls after the rain-break.
However Tamim this time reached his 13th century, by taking a singles as Liton continued cutting loose.
After breaking Tamim’s record for the highest score by a Bangladeshi batsman, Liton looked to set his target for 200 as he started hitting sixes at will and wildly. But another attempt to hit a six caused his dismissal as Carl Mumba had him caught by Sikandar Raza at long-on.
Mumba then trapped Mahmudullah leg-before for 3 while taking out debutant Afif Hossain for 7 to finish with 8-0-69-3.
On his last match as captain, Mashrafe gave the side a breakthrough first, dismissing opener Tinashe Kamunhukmawe for 4 and Mohammad Saifuddin removed out-of-form Brenadan Taylor for 14 before Regis Chakabva and Sean Williams put up 46-run partnership.
Afif Hossain broke the partnership, getting rid of Williams for 30 with his first ODI delivery after which Zimbabwe quickly succumbed to the pressure, imposed by a tight spell of Mustafizur Rahman.
Zimbabwe seemed to have fought back through Wesley Madhevere and Sikandar Raza but Saifuddin dismissed the former for 42.
Taijul Islam rattled the stump of Donald Tiripano for 15 to ensure, this time there would no heroic from the batsman who gave Bangladesh the scare in the second match.
Raza battled lonely to score 61 off 50 with five fours and two sixes. Mohammad Saifuddin claimed his career-best 4-41, while Taijul ended with 2-38.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)