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October 10, 2010
The Big Picture
New Zealand's best-laid plans of preparing for the 2011 World Cup by scheduling series in each of the host nations are being laid to waste. They went to Sri Lanka first, to give their inexperienced team insight into the conditions there, but didn't perform adequately enough to make the tri-series final. A tour of India will follow, but only after their ongoing assignment in Bangladesh, where a depression over the Bay of Bengal has caused enough rain to wreck their first ten days in the country. Both warm-ups were washed out, as was an international, and the only ODI New Zealand played ended in a nine-run defeat on D/L terms.
There was, though, a shimmer of hope ahead of Monday's match. The intensity of the depression had eased and the sun shone, albeit briefly, on the eve of the third ODI, allowing the Shere-e-Bangla Stadium time to recover from all the rain. New Zealand, who have been confined indoors for a while, were finally able to practice outside and get a feel of Mirpur. Brendon McCullum, their opening batsman, spoke of a sense of frustration at the weather, and hoped New Zealand would be able to play the remaining three games. Trailing 1-0 in the five-ODI series, they now have to win three in a row to leave Bangladesh with a trophy.
The hosts have challenges of their own to overcome. They are without Mashrafe Mortaza and Nazmul Hossain, both of whom were involved in the victory but are ruled out by injury. More importantly, however, they face the challenge of achieving collective consistency. If not for Shakib Al Hasan's quality all-round performance, it's likely that New Zealand would have taken the series lead and Bangladesh will find it hard to string wins together on the back of a single man's performance. All of the top six batsman got to double figures in the first ODI, but only Shakib made it past 40. It's an issue their opening batsman, Shariar Nafees, said needed urgent addressing. Bangladesh are one win away from not losing the series, an accomplishment they've never achieved against a major opposition, not counting a weakened West Indies.
Form guide(most recent, completed matches)
New Zealand: LLLWW
Watch out for...
New Zealand's opening batsmen, Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder, are among the most watchable opening pairs in international cricket today. McCullum is forever innovating, opening up previously unexploited regions with inventive stroke play, while Ryder possesses oodles of talent. He's also remarkably quick for someone who could be several kilos lighter. They added 53 in 6.5 overs in the first ODI before Ryder fell. The goal will be to convert an explosive start into something more damaging.
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh's captain again for the remainder of the series because of Mortaza's injury. He is also their most valuable match-winner, especially in the absence of Tamim Iqbal. He made 58 in the first game and his four wickets were crucial in dragging New Zealand below the D/L equation. A lesser performance from him and Bangladesh will struggle to make it 2-0.
Pitch and conditions
The Mirpur square has spent a lot of time under covers and McCullum expected it to not change too much from the way it played in the first game - slow without massive turn. The rains had eased considerably on the eve of the match but there was some showers forecast for Monday. The third ODI is unlikely to be a complete washout though.
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 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain/Shafiul Islam, 11 Syed Rasel.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Grant Elliott, 5, 6 Kane Williamson/BJ Watling/Shannan Stewart, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Daryl Tuffey.
Stats and trivia
"I'm a positive scorer when going well ... I would like to cement myself in the team with a couple of match-winning performances."
Shanan Stewart, New Zealand's middle-order batsman, wants to improve on the 2 he made in the first one-dayer.
"Shakib is definitely a world-class player and you will have to check him if you want to win matches."
Brendon McCullum knows where to try and hit Bangladesh.
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches
Shakib Al Hasan trained with his team-mates as the BCB directors held their meeting in Mirpur, unaware of the massive punishment he was about to be hit with