DHAKA: Opener Imrul Kayes struck a career-best 144 off 140 balls to set up an easy 28-run win for Bangladesh in the first one-day international of a three-match series against Zimbabwe in Dhaka on Sunday.
Kayes shared a record 127-run stand with all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin for the seventh wicket as the hosts recovered from 139-6 to post 271-8 after electing to bat first at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Saifuddin made 50 off 69 balls – his maiden half-century in his fourth ODI – before Bangladeshi bowlers restricted Zimbabwe to 243-9 for their 11th successive win over Zimbabwe.
Spinners Mehidy Hasan (3-46) and Nazmul Islam (2-38) recorded their career best bowling figures as Zimbabwe struggled to get their momentum back after Bangladesh’s batting onslaught.
Sean Williams and Kyle Jarvis offered late resistance with a 67-run ninth wicket stand after eight wickets fell for 169 runs.
But Mahmudullah removed Jarvis for 37 before the pair could pose any threat to Bangladesh.
Williams remained unbeaten on 50 after facing 58 balls and hitting five boundaries.
Kayes, who hit 13 fours and six sixes, earlier held one end firm after the Zimbabwe pacers made some early breakthroughs to put the home side under pressure.
Mohammad Mithun (37) helped Kayes put 71 runs for the fourth wicket before medium pacer Jarvis claimed three wickets in nine balls to leave the hosts in disarray.
Kayes and Saifuddin then mixed their aggression with caution to amble past Mushfiqur Rahim and Naeem Islam’s seventh wicket partnership record of 101 runs against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2010.
“We lost too many wickets early and that put a lot of pressure. But Imrul (Kayes) batted professionally and our bowling was nice,” said Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza after the game.
Kayes, who was named man of the match, brought up his hundred off 118 balls and added 44 off the next 22 balls he faced.
“I tried my best when I went in to bat. The wicket was not easy to bat. I had to be patient,” he said.
Jarvis ended Kayes’ onslaught when he forced the left-hander to give a catch to Peter Moor at extra cover in the penultimate over.
Jarvis claimed four wickets for 37 runs while Tendai Chatara returned with 3-55.
The second and third match of the series will be held at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on October 24 and 26.