And with this match, Mashrafe’s reign as captain comes to an end. And just like the start, it ends with clean-sweeping Zimbabwe.
The third ODI between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe wouldn't have meant much for anyone except that it was an opportunity for the Tigers to clean sweep Zimbabwe. But Mashrafe Mortaza, the skipper of the ODI side, had just said on the day before the match that he was stepping down as captain. And that meant, this match's significance suddenly inflated and it was a chance for the players to give their most successful skipper a proper tribute.
And they have. Among them, Liton Das has paid it the most as the opener hit a magnificent 176 to help Bangladesh pile up a humongous total in a rain struck match.
Courtesy of hundreds from Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das, Bangladesh piled up 322-3 in their 43 overs after rain forced the match to be curtailed. The revised target for Zimbabwe were 342 and they were bowled out for 218 to hand Bangladesh a 123-run win and Mashrafe a parting gift of a clean sweep.
Bangladesh openers, Tamim and Liton, were in fine form ahead of the match as both of them already had a hundred in the series. But still, Zimbabwe skipper Sean Williams opted to bowl first and was made to pay.
Tamim and Liton broke a number of records as they batted to their will. And some poor catching from Zimbabwe just made it easier. These two put up a 292-run opening stand, which was Bangladesh's biggest-ever partnership for any wicket, let alone the first.
Also, this was the first occasion when both Bangladesh openers reached three figures in a match. And Liton, oh Liton!
Liton had reached his hundred before the rain, his third of his career. But once play resumed, he rained fire on the Zimbabwean bowlers as he scored 74 off just 27 deliveries. He hit eight sixes in that period and on his way to scoring the highest knock in Bangladesh cricket history, he scored 112 runs off just boundaries.
Some might call Liton lucky because of the dropped chances and him being plumb LBW but neither the umpire giving out nor Williams reviewing. But none of this can take anything away from his innings, which was an art in itself.
Tamim was also brilliant as he picked up his second consecutive hundred and did it at a good strike rate. He ended up not out on 128 off 109 and courtesy of the brilliance of the openers, Bangladesh had reached a massive 322-3.
Zimbabwe's target was revised to 342 from 43 overs according to the D/L method and in his last match as skipper, Mashrafe struck in the very first over to send back Tinashe Kamunhukamwe.
Mohammad Saifuddin soon struck to send Brendan Taylor back but since then, Regis Chakabva and skipper Williams put on a steady stand which helped to steady their rocking ship.
But none of their batsmen could settle for long. They all had some sort of starts, but none of them except for Sikandar Raza reached fifty. And when you are chasing 342, that means only one thing, defeat.
And that is what happened. Raza scored 61 but that was a lost battle as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 218, handing Bangladesh a 123-run win (D/L method).
Saifuddin was the pick of the Bangladeshi bowlers as he picked up four wickets along with Taijul Islam picking up a couple. Mashrafe, Mustafizur Rahman and Afif Hossain picked up one wicket each.
And with this match, Mashrafe's reign as captain comes to an end. And just like the start, it ends with clean-sweeping Zimbabwe.