With everything even-Stevens in the five-match ODI series so far, Bangladesh gave itself a good chance of going 2-1 up after posting a competitive total of 246/7 in fifty overs. The middle order played out the bulk of the innings with Shakib Al Hasan making a top-score of 73 and receiving able suppprt from Mushfiqur Rahim with 63.
Bangladesh's innings got off to a pretty dire start with Zimbabwe pace bowler Chris Mpofu striking in the first over itself, to remove Tamim Iqbal for a duck. Junaid Siddique was the next to go for just 1 when Shingirai Masakadza had him caught by a diving Prosper Utseya at square leg. Bangladesh were in big trouble at 5/2 in the 4th over.
But Imrul Kayes wasn't going to back down and he played some defiant strokes against the opening seamers, including a four each in the 5th, 7th and 8th and 10th over. But his partner Raqibul Hasan who was having trouble settling in was trapped plumb in front to Utseya for 12 and Bangladesh had slumped to 48/3. The batting side moved past 50 in the 15th over as both batsmen looked to press ahead.
But Kayes' stay at the crease came to an abrupt end when he was caught behind off off-spinner Utseya for a watchful 33 off 61 balls. Then the next man to take guard Musfiqur Rahim, got off the mark in belligerent fashion, smacking Utseya for two fours in the 22nd over, taking Bangaldesh to 81/4. He had a bit of good fortune in the 25th over when wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu missed a stumping chance off Graeme Cremer's bowling, and edged the next ball for a defiant boundary to third man.
Rahim and his then partner Shakib Al Hasan, guided their side to over 100 in the 27th over with Bangladesh's chances of a recovery looking brighter. The runs were coming at a moderate rate till in the 39th over, Hasan cut loose to smash Price for two boundaries, one over the bowler's head and one behind point. In the next over, the duo brought up the 100-run partnership with the score at 171/4.
Looking to initiate a last surge, Musfiqur lofted Cremer for a huge six in the 42nd over. But was ensnared by a deceptive Utseya in the next over and went for a well-made 63 off 73 balls with 5 fours and 1 six to his credit. Shakib came in for some good luck in the next two overs when he was dropped by Brendan Taylor off his own bowling as the ball ran away to the fence and in the next over Mpofu again dropped Hasan off his own bowling.
But Hasan's shimmering fortune came to an end in the following over when Utseya had him bowled to pick up his fourth wicket. Then latter order batsmen Naeem Islam, Syuhrawadi Shuvo and Mashrafe Mortaza biffed a couple of big hits in the last three overs to take Bangladesh to a 246/7.
Now Zimbabwe have their work cut out. They will have to get off to a steady start and not imitate the mistakes of Bangaldesh's top order while their middle order will have to come to fore and drive their side home. With the hosts' pace-bowlers, especially Mortaza, not looking in prime form, the Zimbabweans will have to try and dominate them from early on, while keeping the destructive spinners at bay.