• Friday, Nov 15, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:28 pm

Experiments in the offing as Bangladesh face Zimbabwe

  • Published at 07:18 pm October 20th, 2018
Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim bats in the nets in Mirpur Saturday under the watchful eyes of batting coach Neil McKenzie Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

After a hectic Asia Cup campaign in the UAE, the three-match series is being treated by the Tigers as part of their preparation for the 2019 World Cup

Host Bangladesh will face Zimbabwe in the first of three ODIs in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Sunday. The match starts at 2:30pm local time.

After a hectic Asia Cup campaign in the UAE, the three-match series is being treated by the Tigers as part of their preparation for the 2019 World Cup.

Bangladesh are facing quite a few issues in the series as two of their best performers over the last few years, all-rounder Shakib al Hasan and opener Tamim Iqbal are not playing due to injury.

But the Tigers’ camp believes it’s an opportunity for the others to rise to the occasion and keeping that in mind, the team will certainly carry out some experiments on a few fresh players with the World Cup looming on the horizon.

Bangladesh will experiment with the Nos 3 and 7 spot in the batting-order as the regular No 3 batsman Shakib is not available for the series. 

Liton Das is likely to lead from the front in the opening slot in the absence of Tamim. Top-order batsmen Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Imrul Kayes are likely to fill the Nos 2 and 3 spot respectively.

The No 7 spot is likely to be filled by newcomer Fazle Mahmud Rabbi or pace-bowling all-rounder Saifuddin. All-rounder Ariful Haque is another contender for the spot but the final call will be taken after analysing the pitch prior to the game.

Pacer Rubel Hossain has been suffering from fever recently and had to take antibiotics. So his condition is being closely monitored by the medical team for the first ODI, informed the Tigers’ management.

Captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza will lead the bowling attack, along with left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman, and if Rubel doesn’t play then left-arm pacer Abu Haider will take his place.

Bangladesh currently enjoy a 10-match winning streak against Zimbabwe and the former are yet to taste defeat in an ODI against the latter at home since 2010. 

But Mashrafe believes there is no chance to relax in international cricket, and that they have to give their 100% effort to clinch the series.

“Challenge is the same like any other international match. Everyone expects us to win. But I believe, the way we played in the Asia Cup and overcame the challenges, this series will be the same for us as well. Zimbabwe have a very experienced squad. They have played here many times before.  So we have to give our 100% here,” said Mashrafe to the media at the pre-match press conference in Mirpur Saturday.

The visiting side have been boosted following the return of all-rounder Sikandar Raza after his contract issues with Zimbabwe Cricket were resolved recently. Senior players like captain Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura have plenty of experience playing in Bangladesh. 

Although they lost all the matches in the series against South Africa, the Zimbabwe camp is of the opinion that they have a good chance to win.

“We didn’t have a great time in South Africa and in the match [Friday]. We are focused on [Sunday] and on what we can achieve on this tour. We can only go up from here. The guys are really looking forward to it. They are really upbeat,” said Masakadza to the media.

“Zimbabwe (have) played here and against Bangladesh the most. We are a little bit more familiar with them and the conditions. We stand a very good chance as a team, especially compared to [playing against] other international teams. I think it will be a very competitive series,” he added.

Bangladesh            Head to head    Zimbabwe

69                ODIs        69

41                Wins        28

59.42                Win %        40.57

Shakib al Hasan (1404)    Most runs    Brendan Taylor (1222)

Tamim Iqbal (154)        HS        Charles Coventry (194*)

Shakib (74)            Most wickets    Ray Price (35)

Abdur Razzak (5/29)        BBI        Bryan Strang (6/20)