Talha Kamal
Bangladesh left-handed opener Imrul Kayes was the star performer in recently finished UCB Bangladesh Zimbabwe ODI series. In the whole series, he looked a completely different player from what he was before the start of the series.
Imrul’s form was not good in build up to the series. In the recently finished Asia Cup in UAE, he didn’t deliver well for the team. In the three matches he played, he scored 72, 9 and 2 respectively.
However, Imrul completely revived himself and played a huge part in Tigers’ triumph over the Zimbabweans. Imrul’s form has been tremendous throughout the series. His splendid knock of 115 in Friday’s match earned him a new milestone.
He became the most run-scoring batsman for Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series by leapfrogging Tamim Iqbal. Imrul single-handedly won the first ODI with his splendid knock of 144 runs. In the second ODI, he fell just 10 runs short of another ton.

Imrul finished the series with rare consistency, hammering 144, 90 and 115 to become the second highest run-getter in a three-match ODI series, with 349 runs in his bag, just 11 runs behind the 360 Babar Azam made against West Indies in 2016. For his stellar feat during the series, Imrul deservedly received the Man of the Series award.

Kayes who entered the crease 79 runs adrift to cross Tamim Iqbal’s Bangladesh record of 312 made against Pakistan in 2015 took two runs off the second ball of 25th over bowled by Richard Ngarava to reach 314.

In the post match press conference, Imrul was still not satisfied with his remarkable achievement. Imrul looked hungrier to get more runs and said he is disappointed not to get three hundreds on the trot.

“I could have been dismissed for a duck but I scored in all three games. Yes, I was disappointed as it could have been three hundreds on the trot, which has never been done by a Bangladeshi. I hope to not make the same mistake again in the nineties,” said Imrul.

This type of winning mentality was really good to see as it can only benefit the team moving forward.

When asked about, keeping the consistency going, Imrul said he will try to maintain that level of performance. “I don’t know that much as I am not a big player yet. I have played well in three games and will try to do so in the coming days,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, another left-handed opener Soumya Sarkar’s performance proved that his return to the squad couldn’t have been more perfect. He struck a blistering ton off just 81 balls. With this knock, Soumya’s confidence will now grow after his long run of dismal form. His innings came to an end on 117 runs off 92 balls, featuring nine boundaries and six maximums. The 220-run alliance between Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes is also the best 2nd wicket stand for Bangladesh in ODI.

Imrul, Liton and Soumya’s recent run of good form will give selectors some good headache ahead of the upcoming series and World Cup. Tamim will inevitably glide in after returning from his injury but who will partner Tamim in the other opening vacant position? It certainly will be a difficult task for the selectors.