Bangladesh seek another clean sweep
November 11, 2015
Start time 1300 local (0700 GMT)
When Bangladesh had crossed the 200-run mark in the second ODI, there was a feeling that it was going to be enough to beat Zimbabwe who, duly, looked hapless in the chase. They couldn't last more than 43.2 overs and whenever there were moments in which they looked to be gaining a footing, Bangladesh quickly shut them down.
Now on to the third and final ODI in Mirpur, and possibly the last such game in Bangladesh this year. The home team has plenty of things to be cheerful for this year, beating Pakistan, India and South Africa in a remarkable period in the country's cricketing history. Here, Mashrafe Mortaza has led the team superbly once again, and has properly managed his resources. Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain and Arafat Sunny all did not go for too many, no simple task in ODIs these days. The batting could be a worry, but they still made decent scores on a slow pitch, with at least one batsman doing the main job. Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman and Imrul Kayes have batted well while Nasir Hossain and Tamim Iqbal look like batsmen who are about to break onto something big. Mahmudullah and Liton Das haven't done much but they can be expected to be given another chance in the last ODI.
If only Zimbabwe had two batsmen causing the opposition worries... Elton Chigumbura and Sikandar Raza tried to make a fist of the second game, in a 73-run fifth-wicket stand. Without Shakib Al Hasan, there were some concerns that Mashrafe Mortaza might have to bring in a sixth bowler but Al-Amin Hossain got both the batsmen in the space of two overs, ending all hopes for the visitors. What should concern Zimbabwe greatly is the form of Chamu Chibhabha, Regis Chakabva, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams. None of these batsmen have made a significant enough contribution to threaten Bangladesh.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe's bowling has been quite useful. They went for a bit too many in the end overs of the first game but they were far better in the second, led by Tinashe Panyangara. Luke Jongwe and Taurai Muzarabani have looked encouraging while Graeme Cremer has been consistent and threatening.
Dead rubber it might be, but Bangladesh have to win this game to avoid dropping points in the ICC ODI rankings.
Bangladesh: WWWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Mahmudullah has had some tremendous moments this year, but the last two outings have been quite depressing for him. He stuck around for 29 and 32 minutes, but hardly got a move on. He is one player who can be expected to bounce back in the third game.
Sean Williams was expected to be Zimbabwe's best performer and while he did start the tour with a half-century, he got only 8 and 14 in the first two ODIs. Still, he has a good year and can be expected to come up with the goods in the last game of the series.
Bangladesh retained the same squad for the third ODI and, barring injuries, the likes of Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Anamul Haque and Jubair Hossain are unlikely to get off the bench. Bangladesh are not a team keen on experimentation, even in dead rubbers.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Liton Das, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Nasir Hossain, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Arafat Sunny, 10 Al-Amin Hossain, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
With Richmond Mutumbami having injured himself during the first ODI, the visitors have brought in Tinotenda Mutombodzi as cover. Mutumbami was hit by the ball on the ankle while keeping wicket and an MRI confirmed a grade one mid-Achilles tear and bone injury.* Zimbabwe also have three spinners (Tendai Chisoro, Wellington Masakadza and John Nyumbu) and a pace bowler (Neville Madziva) on the bench to choose from.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Chamu Chibhabha, 2 Regis Chakabva (wk), 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Sean Williams, 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 7 Malcolm Waller, 8 Graeme Cremer, 9 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Luke Jongwe, 11 Taurai Muzarabani
Pitch and conditions
The pitch for the third ODI is likely to offer similar slowness as the one used in the second. There was a hint of dew in that game and that is likely to get a little heavier as the days go by.
Stats and trivia
- After taking the catch of Tinashe Panyangara in the second ODI, Mashrafe Mortaza became the first Bangladesh non-wicketkeeper to take 50 catches in ODIs (although one of those was for Asia XI in 2007). Shakib Al Hasan is next in line, with 39 catches
- Monday was the first time since Shakib's international debut in 2006 that he hasn't featured in an ODI against Zimbabwe
"One can't lose hope. We still have to put out our best. You have to come back again and play hard and make sure we polish those mistakes from [Monday's] game, and win the game."
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura
"We haven't thought about experimenting. We believe that that all the 14 players are capable of doing well. I believe that all the players will be serious and we will try to win again."
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza
*17.30GMT, November 10: The preview was updated after news of Richmond Mutumbami's injury came in.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84