Imrul Kayes’ career-best 144 hauled Bangladesh up from 139 for 6 in the 30th over to 271 for 8. A bulk of the recovery was courtesy a 127-run seventh-wicket stand – a Bangladesh record – with Mohammad Saifuddin. Imrul struck 13 fours and six sixes in his 140-ball innings, as Bangladesh added 85 off the last 10 overs. Saifuddin’s maiden ODI fifty was a supporting act, as he struck three fours and a six in his 69-ball knock. He fed off an inspired Imrul, whose touch of the unorthodox towards the final stages helped deliver his third ODI century that elicited the ‘cradle’ celebration.
Imrul’s 49-run third-wicket stand with Mushfiqur Rahim got Bangladesh out of trouble after they slipped to 17 for 2 in the sixth over. His 71-run fourth wicket stand with Mohammad Mithun got them to a strong position, before Kyle Jarvis took three wickets in nine balls to put Zimbabwe back on top. Saifuddin, playing his first ODI since January, was shaky at the start but focused on rotating strike with Imrul as boundaries dried up. The innings picked up pace once Imrul emphatically pulled Donald Tiripano over midwicket in the 35th over. He then pinged Williams with a reverse sweep in the following over before Saifuddin hammered a Brandon Mavuta short ball for his first boundary.
Zimbabwe seamers found no respite once Imrul reached his century in the 43rd over. He went after Chatara, smashing him for two sixes and a four in the 46th over before the pair got a six and two fours off Jarvis in the following over. Imrul struck Tiripano for two more boundaries in the 48th over before falling to Jarvis. Zimbabwe had their moments in the game but a couple of dropped chances and their failure to stop a number of boundaries in the deep handed the hosts the upper hand.