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Bangladesh's Kiwi challenge begins

  • Published at 09:30 pm December 24th, 2016
  • Last updated at 07:11 pm December 25th, 2016
Bangladesh's Kiwi challenge begins
It turned out to be a rather one-sided show six years ago when Bangladesh toured New Zealand for a full-fledged bilateral series. The Tigers were swept aside in the three-ODI series and went down to defeat in the solitary Twenty20 international and the one-off Test match in their month-long tour. Moving forward to 2016, Bangladesh have once again set foot in New Zealand where the visitors will take on the hosts in three ODIs, three T20Is and two Tests. The series begins with the one-dayers on Monday at Hagley Oval in Christchurch. The match starts at 4am (Bangladesh standard time) and Channel 9 will telecast it live. However, it will be a different Bangladesh who are touring New Zealand this time around. The new-look Tigers, under limited-over captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza, are now a force to be reckoned with in the 50-over format. Their rise started in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand where they reached the quarter-finals for the very first time. Since then, over the past two years, the Tigers have grown in confidence under the guidance of head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and arrived in New Zealand on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 ODI series defeat, followed by the historic drawn Test series, against England at home. Prior to the tour, Bangladesh enjoyed a fruitful preparation camp down under where they played two T20s against Big Bash League outfits Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder. A good news has arrived for the Tigers team management in the shape of fast bowling sensation Mustafizur Rahman, who made his return to competitive cricket after five months out due to shoulder surgery. He is all set to make his international return against the Kiwis on Monday. Imrul Kayes is likely to open the innings with Tamim Iqbal while, in spite of Soumya Sarkar recently returning to run-scoring ways, Sabbir Rahman is expected to bat at No 3. Mahmudullah is in terrific form with both bat and ball and will be a big plus point for the visitors, along with Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib al Hasan, who are also in good touch with the willow. Shakib is expected to lead the spin-bowling department as well while youngster Mehedi Hasan Miraz is likely to make his limited-over bow after an impressive Test debut against England. With that said, the seamer-friendly pitch and condition in New Zealand will mean that the Narail Express, Mustafizur and Taskin Ahmed will have to do most of the damage. On the other hand, the Kiwis recalled batsman Neil Broom and stumper-batsman Luke Ronchi while skipper Kane Williamson will be looking to improve his side's recent fortunes after losing 3-0 away to Australia and 3-2 in India. All in all, the Tigers are all set for the challenge, not only that of the opposition but also the alien conditions. ODI HEAD-TO-HEAD Ranking - 4 (NZ) and 7 (Bangladesh) Matches - 25 NZ wins - 17 Bangladesh wins - 8 NZ win % - 68 Bangladesh win % - 32 Highest total - 338/4 (NZ) and 309/6 (Bangladesh) Lowest total - 162 (NZ) and 77 (Bangladesh) Most runs - Ross Taylor (638) and Mushfiqur Rahim (360) High score - Kane Williamson (108) and Mahmudullah (128*) Most wickets - Kyle Mills (33) and Shakib al Hasan (28) Best bowling - Daniel Vettori (5/7) and Rubel Hossain (6/26)
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