Bangladesh aim to take series
Match FactsFriday, December 10
Start time 09:00 (03:00 GMT)
The Big Picture
Zimbabwe just cannot seem to solve the Abdur Razzak conundrum. The left-arm spinner has taken 13 wickets in the three matches so far, and Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher has said his batsmen were having technical problems in playing Razzak. Batting has clearly been an area of concern for Zimbabwe. The problem seems to be an over-reliance on Brendan Taylor and Tatenda Taibu. On the four occasions Zimbabwe have managed to score more than 250 runs in 2010, either of those two has got a half-century. With both struggling so far in this series, the other batsmen haven't been able to take Zimbabwe to decent totals.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, are motoring along nicely on all fronts. Shakib Al Hasan said the most pleasing thing about the previous match was the performance of his fast bowlers. Shafiul Islam and Mashrafe Mortaza had taken just one wicket between them in the first two games, but combined to pick up five in the third. Bangladesh will hope they can continue to assist the left-arm spinners so they have a more balanced bowling attack going into the World Cup.
There is some extra motivation for Bangladesh as well. They have a chance to break into the top eight in the ICC ODI rankings if they win the two remaining games in the series. With West Indies' one-day series in Sri Lanka postponed till next month, Bangladesh could go equal with them on 67 points, after which the rankings will be determined by the trailing decimals.
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Watch out for …
Prosper Utseya, Zimbabwe's stand-in captain for the third ODI, tops their runs and wickets charts for the series. Utseya's offspin and Ray Price's left-arm spin were Zimbabwe's main bowling threats on the slow Mirpur track. After his 67 in the third match, Zimbabwe may consider pushing Utseya up the order.
Shafiul Islam took a career-best 4 for 43 in the previous match. Ahead of the fourth game, he said he has bowled as fast as 143 kph in the nets. With Mashrafe Mortaza easing into rhythm on his return from injury, Shafiul has another chance to establish himself as Bangladesh's lead seamer.
After three games in Mirpur, the action shifts to the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong for the last two ODIs. The wicket is expected to be slow and low, and, like Mirpur, assist spin. There have been only two scores of over 250 in nine ODIs at the ground. Price, however, noticed some differences in the conditions. "There is some long grass on this wicket," he said. "The outfield too is different from Mirpur. So it is difficult to predict how the wicket will behave."
Shafiul said the surface was turning when Bangladesh practiced on it before the series, while Utseya expected 240 to 250 to be a good score. Zimbabwe struggled during the two ODIs they played in Chittagong in November 2009, getting bowled out for 44 in the first one.
Elton Chigumbura, who missed the previous game with a groin strain, trained with the team on Wednesday, but is doubtful for Friday's match. "When I was fielding I felt sore," Chigumbura said on Wednesday. "I wasn't yet 100%, there is still some pain and I will know by tomorrow if I feel right." Hamilton Masakadza replaced Keith Dabengwa for the third ODI but only scored 3, so he could be dropped again.
Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Brendan Taylor, 2 Chamu Chibhabha, 3 Regis Chakabva, 4. Keith Dabengwa / Hamilton Masakadza, 5 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 6 Craig Ervine, 7 Elton Chigumbura (capt) / Graeme Cremer, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Shingirai Masakadza / Keegan Meth, 10 Raymond Price, 11 Chris Mpofu
Bangladesh are unlikely to change their winning combination.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Naeem Islam, 8 Suhrawadi Shuvo, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Shafiul Islam
Stats and Trivia
- Abdur Razzak is two wickets away from equalling the record for the most wickets by a bowler in a five-match bilateral series. The record is currently jointly held by Ajantha Mendis who took 15 in five matches against Zimbabwe in November 2008, Zimbabwe's Graeme Cremer against Kenya in January 2009 and Razzak himself against Zimbabwe in October 2009.
- Prosper Utseya's career-best figures of 4 for 38 in the third ODI was only his second four-wicket haul in 120 matches. Utseya is now Zimbabwe's fourth highest wicket-taker in ODIs and needs three more to catch up with Paul Strang.
"In the first two ODIs, our fast bowlers did not bowl the right line and length. We [the seamers] had been facing some problems, which we have succeeded in overcoming with advice from our coach."
Shafiul Islam expects improved performances from him and Mashrafe Mortaza in the rest of the series
"The last time I came here, Abdur Razzak used to bowl straight but this time he seems to be varying them, turning them, and it's just a matter of watching the ball closely. We just have to try and play with the spin and cover our stumps."
Elton Chigumbura believes denying Razzak wickets could be the key for Zimbabwe