Zimbabwe defeats Bangladesh, while Price wins top honour

Posted by brmtaylor.com admin on January 10, 2009

January 10th may just be the most important date for Zimbabwe cricket in several years. Not only did Zimbabwe defeat Bangladesh in a hard fought battle in Mirpur, but the highly anticipated Player of the Year award at zimcricketforums.com was announced.

Sean Williams and Tatenda Taibu were tied runner-up, both ending with an equal number of votes in 2008. Williams was the award favourite early in the year, but due to injuries and other uncertainties, he failed to poll any votes in the last 4 series.

With 20.13% of the overall vote - remembering that in each poll, members voted for 3 players, so the theoretical maximum a player could receive was 33% - Ray Price comfortably won zimcricketforums.com's top honour. As Zimbabwe's seasoned campaigner and most consistent player, Price troubled all teams from the likes of Pakistan and Sri Lanka down to minnows Canada and Ireland with his flight and spin. Price's ODI economy rate of 3.93 is among the lowest in ODI history, placing him in the company of players like Glenn McGrath (3.88) and Muttiah Muralitharan (3.87).

If you wish to send your congratulations to Ray Price, please post in our forum thread: http://www.zimcricketforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=361

The award winners for the other award categories were:

Best Young Player: Sean Williams
Most Improved Player: Hamilton Masakadza
Best Performance (tied): Chris Mpofu & Ray Price (Al Barakah Cup, 3rd Place Playoff, Zimbabwe vs Canada), Regis Chakabva 71* (MTN Domestic Championship, Zimbabwe vs Cape Cobras)

The other massive event which took place on January 10th 2009 was of course Zimbabwe's 38 run victory against Bangladesh.

Courtesy of a composed 64 from Elton Chigumbura, with assistance from Stuart Matsikenyeri (39 from 51 deliveries) and Ray Price (17 from 16 deliveries), Zimbabwe managed to drag themselves from 5/94 to a modest but respectable total of 9/205 from 50 overs.

The highlight of the innings was Chigumbura's assault on Mahbubal Alam who conceded 20 runs in the final over of Zimbabwe's innings. Chigumbura clubbed a 6 and a 4 in succession to get Zimbabwe over the 200 mark. Possibly the most interesting part of the innings was Tatenda Taibu's unorthodox reverse sweeping of the Bangladeshi spinners, particularly Shakib al Hasan who was on the receiving end of two 4's from reverse sweeps. However, the reverse sweep ended up being Taibu's downfall; he attempted one too many and ended up popping a catch to Mashrafee Mortaza at third man. The ball should perhaps have been signalled a no ball though, it was well above chest height and had it been left alone would have no doubt been called wide.

Ed Rainsford opened the bowling for Zimbabwe and after a good first few balls, ended up conceding several boundaries. Prosper Utseya brought himself into the attack from the other end, a gutsy move which paid dividends as he took the wicket of Junaid Siddique leg before.

Rainsford struck in the next over, taking the vital wicket of Mushfiqur Rahim. Rainsford bowled a beautiful delivery which nipped back off the seam to take off middle stump, and his celebrations showed just how much the perfect start of 2/10 meant to the tourists.

Wickets kept falling for Bangladesh, at one stage being 4/33 due to a mix-up which saw Tamim Iqbal dismissed and a rash shot which saw the end of captain Mohammed Ashraful.

The in-form Shakib al Hasan and Raqibul Hasan put together a good partnership worth 59 before Keith Dabengwa clean bowled Raqibul against the flow of play. Dabengwa was outstanding with the ball, taking 1/30 from 10 overs.

Mehrab was the next to fall, due to a clever delivery from Ray Price which dragged the batsman out of his crease, only to be stumped by Taibu.

A smart bowling change by Prosper Utseya - who had all of his captaincy decisions pay off - saw Elton Chigumbura introduced into the attack, replacing the twin spin of Dabengwa and Price. He struck immediately, getting the outside edge of Shakib and turning the match completely in Zimbabwe's favour.

Excellent fielding by the Zimbabweans saw Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura both execute runouts, leaving the Bangladeshi's reeling. Mahbubul Alam put up a fight with 22, but was eventually the last man out, giving Price his second wicket.

Rainsford was not brought back into the attack and ended with the figures of 1/26 from 6 overs. Utseya bowled 10 overs for his 2/22, while Tawanda Mupariwa did not have a good day with the ball, conceding 0/29 from his 5 overs. Price ended with 2/35 from 9.2 overs, while Elton Chigumbura continued his good day with 1/21 from 6 overs.

Chigumbura won the $1000 cheque as man of the match.

This win gives Zimbabwe a good chance of reaching the tournament final. Zimbabwe's next match is against Sri Lanka on January 12 - a win would secure their place in the final. The only way Bangladesh can make the final is to defeat, with a superior net run rate to Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka in their January 14 encounter.

	Points Table

	Team		P	W	L	Pts	Net RR
	Zimbabwe	1	1	0	4	+0.760
	Bangladesh	1	0	1	0	-0.760
	Sri Lanka	0	0	0	0	n/a