Bangladesh set to keep experimenting
January 17, 2016
Start time 1500 local (0900 GMT)
Both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe view this series as a chance to experiment ahead of the World T20, but neither side could fiddle too much during the first T20, which Bangladesh won in a manner that reflected the growing quality gap between the sides.
Mashrafe Mortaza was happy to see Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah vacate higher batting spots and use their experience well to steer Bangladesh to a win, but said he would have liked to use Shuvagata Hom's offspin at some stage. Shuvagata also failed with the bat at No 4. It wasn't new for the experienced batsmen to be doing their job, but seeing them adapt to new roles was pleasing for Bangladesh's captain.
Zimbabwe's experienced duo of Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda starting superbly with the bat but the likes of Elton Chigumbura, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller were unable to capitalise on the 101-run opening stand. Zimbabwe will also be unhappy with their fielding effort, with Sibanda dropping Sabbir Rahman at a crucial stage. Masakadza said he was happy with the bowling attack's display despite missing Tinashe Panyangara's control at the top.
There are likely to be changes in both sides in the second T20, even if it doesn't mean personnel changes as much as batsmen and bowlers assuming new roles. But no matter what the team managements are trying, the first T20 was proof that both sets of players weren't forgetting two fundamental roles while playing T20 cricket: providing entertainment and enjoying themselves. It came down to the last eight balls in the first game, and if the second T20 goes down to the wire it won't be a huge surprise.
Bangladesh (Last five matches, most recent first): WLWLL
In the spotlight
Sabbir Rahman would have liked to stay at the crease till the end of Bangladesh's successful chase in the first game, but his 46 was heartening given how he grasped the chance to bat at No 3.
Vusi Sibanda played second fiddle to Hamilton Masakadza's brutal 79. He should have also made a fifty but got too greedy against Shakib Al Hasan, falling for 46.
The potential inclusion of Arafat Sunny could be one possible change for Bangladesh if they look to try out more combinations.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mahmudullah, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Sabbir Rahman, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Shuvagata Hom, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Al-Amin Hossain
Zimbabwe may rethink their bowling attack with either of Neville Madziva, Tendai Chisoro or Taurai Muzarabani getting a chance to play.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Hamilton Masakadza, 2 Vusi Sibanda, 3 Sean Williams, 4 Peter Moor (wk), 5 Sikandar Raza, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 8 Brian Vitori, 9 Wellington Masakadza, 10 Luke Jongwe, 11 Graeme Cremer
Pitch and conditions
There was considerable dew in the second innings of the first T20, and that could make it harder for the spinners in the second half once again. The pitches on the main square are similar in look, and batsmen should continue to enjoy conditions in the second game.
Stats and trivia
- In the first match, Mushfiqur Rahim played as a specialist batsman for the first time in his T20I career.
- Hamilton Masakadza's 79 equalled his and Zimbabwe's highest individual score in T20Is.
"I think it was more of positives from the way we started our batting and at some stages our spinners bowled well as well. So there were few positives to take out of the game."
Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza
"I think winning the first game of the year was quite useful. This series is very important ahead of the Asia Cup. We want to win all four games." Sabbir Rahman
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84