Bangladesh a great bet to sweep series
Saturday March 22, 2008
Start time 0930 (local), 0330 (GMT)
The big picture
Bangladesh defeated Ireland by 84 runs in the second one-day international in Mirpur on Thursday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the best-of-three series. The series win, albeit against non Test-playing opposition, should have put smiles on the faces of Bangladesh's passionate fans given the losing streak their side was on. Mohammad Ashraful has been under immense pressure and his scores would have alleviated some of that. Ireland, after a good run in the ICC Intercontinental Cup, have struggled against the hosts. Their main contributions have come from the lower order - namely Alex Cusack and Andre Botha - and the top order is a worry. Their bowling has been workmanlike, with no bowler really bothering Bangladesh. A win in the final game would boost spirits before they return home.
Form Guide - Ireland
Last five completed matches: LWWLL
Player to watch: Cusack has scored the most runs for his side in the short series, offering stability down the order. Ireland's top order has yet to get going and Cusack has played two crucial innings, showing an appetite to stick around. In the first game he played a patient knock of 38 off 61 balls, helping Ireland to 185, and in the second he and Botha added 52 in just over ten overs. A promotion up the order may not be a bad idea.
Form Guide - Bangladesh
Last five completed matches: LLLWW
Player to watch: Shahriar Nafees leads the run tally with 150 from two games: a fluent unbeaten 90 sealed an eight-wicket win in the opener and his 61 led a top-order rally. Nafees' driving and flicking has been pleasing on the eye, and his fluency a good come back from the batsman who won Bangladesh's cricketer-of-the-year award for 2006.
With the series already wrapped up Bangladesh have the option of resting some players but given the poor form they have been in going into this series, they may well look to build on their returns in the first to games. Ireland are likely to keep the same XI.
Bangladesh (probable XI) Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Raqibul Hasan, Dhiman Ghosh (wk), Farhad Reza, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak.
Ireland (probable XI) William Porterfield, Reinhardt Strydom, Eoin Morgan, Niall O'Brien (wk), Kevin O'Brien, Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, Trent Johnston (capt), Dave Langford-Smith, Greg Thompson, Kyle McCallan.
Weather: Saturday's predominant weather is forecast to be light showers, with a high of 91°F.
"We are 2-0 behind but the third game is a massive one for us because we want to leave Bangladesh on a high." Trent Johnson, Ireland captain
"We had beaten a lot of weak teams in the lead-up to the World Cup and the habit helped us in the tournament proper. By beating Ireland we want to get that habit back."
Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh captain