Sakib al Hasan ended a long-wait for his maiden five-wicket haul as Bangladesh crushed Zimbabwe by 145 runs in the first one-day international to take 1-0 lead in the three-match series in Dhaka on Saturday.
Sakib grabbed 5-47 to join a select group of Bangladeshi bowlers, helping the Tigers dismiss Zimbabwe for 128 on a slow wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Sakib’s exploit overshadowed a fine innings of Mushfiqur Rahim, who hit 107 off 109 balls, his fourth ODI century that became the cornerstone in Bangladesh’s 273-9.
Bangladesh’s victory was never thrown into doubt after Sakib made triple strike in his opening spell, ripping the heart out of Zimbabwe’s top-order to leave the side struggling at 4-65.
Zimbabwe did not get a chance to regroup as other bowlers complemented the left-arm spinner to accomplish the win sooner than it was expected.
Skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza shrugged off his fitness concern to finish with 2-13 while Al-Amin Hossain and Nasir Hossain also grabbed one wicket each.
Elton Chigumbura made highest 41 runs for Zimbabwe before he was adjudged leg-before off Nasir Hossain, a wicket that also brought an end to the Zimbabwe innings with nearly 14 overs left.
Zimbabwe suffered a blow before they started their innings as wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami hurt his ankle while trying to stop a ball during fielding that made him unlikely to take any further part in the series.
Bangladesh were always up to their task despite a shaky start thanks to Mushfiq, who looked to be in a fine touch from the onset of his innings.
Perhaps buoyed on by their warm-up win, when the visitors successfully chased down a big total with ease, Chigumbura did not wait for a second to decide for fielding after he won the toss.
Bangladesh appeared nervous initially as makeshift opener Liton Das offered Graeme Cremer a catch at point for a duck before Tinashe Panyangara bowled Mahmudullah for nine.
Things started to take shape once Mushfiq joined Tamim as the duo mixed aggression with caution to repair the initial damage with a patient 70-run third wicket partnership.
Off-break bowler Sikandar Raza had Tamim caught by Luke Jongwe at long-on for 40 and soon he got rid of Sakib (16) to leave Bangladesh in danger of a below-par total.
But Sabbir Rahman put his hands up to provide Mushfiq an invaluable support forging 119-run in the fourth wicket stand. Sabbir scored 57 off 58 balls, his only second ODI fifty that could not have come at a better time.
Sabbir and Mushfiq were run out in successive overs with direct hits from backward point by Graeme Cremer that triggered a mini collapse. But Mashrafee (14) and Arafat Sunny (15) played two cameos to add 28 runs in the final two overs taking Bangladesh to a total which was proved more than enough.
The second match of the series will be held at the same ground on Monday.
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