Liton, Saifuddin power Bangladesh to their biggest ODI win against Zimbabwe

  • Sports Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-03-01 20:26:25 BdST

A fabulous century by Liton Das backed by a spirited all-round show from Mohammad Saifuddin has handed Bangladesh their biggest ODI victory - by 169 runs - in the first match against Zimbabwe.

The visitors never got going in their chase and were skittled out for 152 in 39.1 overs in the chase of 321 at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Sunday to hand the hosts 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Saifuddin caught Tinotenda Mutombodzi off Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the skipper’s second wicket, to cap the Zimbabwe innings.   

Wesley Madhevere top-scored for the visitors with 35 off 44 before being caught by Mashrafe.

Liton’s unbeaten 105-ball 126 innings provided the backbone of the big total. He was finally stopped apparently by a muscle pull while attempting another six.

Everything clicked for the Tigers in the game. Najmul Hossain Shanto did not get a big score in his comeback match but he was confident in his shot-making. Mohammad Mithun smashed a whirlwind fifty while Mahmudullah (32 off 28) chipped in with an effective innings.

Saifuddin heaved three sixes in the final over for an impressive cameo on his return after a long injury lay-off. His three-wicket haul topped off a fine all-round show.

After a long absence, Mashrafe did not look sharp with the ball in national colours. The lack of match practice was evident but his two wickets came as a relief for him as it snapped a five-match wicket drought.

The openers had contrasting starts to their innings; Liton opened his score in the first over hitting a boundary with exquisite timing and never looked back.  Tamim Iqbal was uneasy and clearly betrayed a lack of confidence, struggling to even take singles. 

After 10 overs of powerplay, Tamim had laboured to 15 off 31 balls and the pair put 50 run on the board in the 11th over.

Madhevere, the 19-year-old off-spinner on his debut, put the veteran opener out of his misery. Tamim wasted the team’s only review after he was trapped lbw for a 43-ball 24. 

Shanto joined Liton and the duo injected pace into the Bangladesh innings. Shanto was fluent while Liton had been set at the wicket and the understanding between them was great.

They kept the ones and twos coming and punished loose balls. Shanto danced down the wicket to loft Madhevere for a six and followed that up by hooking Donald Tiripano for another.

It took an umpiring mistake to break the blossoming 80-run partnership off 77 deliveries. Replays suggested the impact was way outside the off-stump but umpire had adjudged Shanto (29 off 38 balls). The Tigers could not challenge the decision as they had no review left.

At the other end, Liton reached his half-century in 45 deliveries and hundred in 95, flicking Tiripano to the boundary.  It was his second ton in 34 ODIs, with his first – a swashbuckling century – coming against India in the Asia Cup final in September, 2018.

Liton became more dangerous once he had reached the milestone. He took Tiripano to the cleaners by hitting him for three boundaries in one over. The right-hand batsman lofted Madhevere for a 90-metre-long six but pulled a hamstring while playing the shot.

Before Liton’s departure, Mushfiqur Rahim (19 off 26) tried to glide an innocuous delivery down to third man only to be caught behind. But Mahmudullah and Mithun ensured the Tigers post their biggest innings against Zimbabwe by adding 68 from 57 balls. Saifuddin then finished unbeaten on 28 off 15.