Bangladesh seek historic series win
Thursday, October 14, Mirpur
Start time 09:00 local (03:00 GMT)
The Big Picture
History beckons Bangadesh's cricketers, who on Thursday could record their first series win against top-flight opposition. A team that has won only 14 of 155 ODIs against the current Test-playing nations, and only once before won two consecutive matches against such opposition (against a second-string West Indies side led by Floyd Reifer), can wrap up the series with a win in the fourth ODI.
There seem to be few problems for Bangladesh going into the game. Shahriar Nafees has been a revelation at the top of the order, ensuring that even Tamim Iqbal has not been missed. Shakib al Hasan has contributed with both bat and ball and the spinners have stifled New Zealand on the slow Mirpur surface.
While Duckworth-Lewis had a role to play in the first win, what is heartening from Bangladesh's view is that the victory on Monday was a team performance, the reliance on Shakib much less than usual.
This series was supposed to be a continuation of New Zealand's World Cup build-up on the sub-continent. After the huge victory against India in the first match of the Sri Lanka tri-series, they have lost four games, and two have been washed out. Anything but ideal preparation so far.
They failed to bat out fifty overs in the previous match, leaving Ross Taylor stranded. The lower middle order has looked wobbly, and the form of allrounder Grant Elliott, at the key No. 5 position, is a worry. Given that he hasn't bowled in ODIs this year, the lack of runs is hurting even more.
Form guide(most recent, completed matches)
New Zealand: LLLLW
Watch out for...
Shahriar Nafees, back from the ICL and playing his first ODI series in more than two years, has provided good starts in both games, along with Imrul Kayes. He was severe on the New Zealand seamers in the third ODI, getting to his half-century at more than a run-a-ball. Bangladesh appear a different team when they get such starts.
Ross Taylor has looked the best New Zealand batsman so far, and is deservedly their top-scorer in the series. You know he is in good touch when he regularly slog-sweeps those sixes over midwicket, which he did four times in the previous game. His team will require more of them if they are to remain alive in this series.
Bangladesh should stick to the same side that won a couple of days ago.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Abdur Razzak, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Suhrawadi Shuvo
Shannan Stewart took a blow to the head while attempting a catch off Imrul Kayes in the first over of Bangladesh's chase. Kane Williamson could come in for him. BJ Watling kept wickets instead of Brendon McCullum in the previous match, as McCullum was said to be suffering from sore knees. Will Watling continue to keep?
New Zealand (probable): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 BJ Watling, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Kane Williamson/Shannan Stewart, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Andy McKay
Stats and trivia
- The stand of 127 between Nafees and Kayes in the previous match is Bangladesh's best for the first wicket against the current Test-playing nations, and their third-highest overall.
- New Zealand's total of 173 in the third ODI is their lowest against Bangladesh when batting first.
"We always knew it was going to be a tough test coming over here and playing without having any practice matches, coming up against a Bangladesh team that's good in their own conditions."
Daniel Vettori never underestimated Bangladesh
"We are not thinking of anything other than winning the series after the way we played in the first two games."
Mushfiqur Rahim says Bangladesh are on a high
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo