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October 8, 2008
Match factsOctober 9, 2008
Big PictureIt's the first test for Bangladesh after the exodus to the ICL. There didn't appear to be much mercy coming from New Zealand, who arrived early to acclimatise, but unforeseen circumstances may have left the visitors a bit underdone. Their only warm-up game, in Fatullah, was washed out, and a day before the first ODI, the New Zealanders lost patience with the traffic and did a u-turn to the team hotel en route to the ground. The minor hiccups aside, New Zealand will still fancy their chances of a 3-0 win and the No. 2 spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
The match will also be the first time the new Powerplay rules come into place. The batting team now has the opportunity to choose either the second or third Powerplay in the innings; earlier the Powerplays were taken only by the fielding side. It will the interesting to see the strategies adopted by the teams. Bowling teams generally tried to get rid of the Powerplay overs as soon as possible, especially when fielding first, but how will the batting side react? Will they use it up first-up or wait to hammer tired bowlers in the final five overs. Will they choose the Powerplay when the lesser bowlers are on, or when their best hitter is at the crease? It's a whole new element that teams will need to strategise on. One small concession for the bowlers: three fielders can be outside the 30-yard circle for the second and third Powerplays.
Pitch & conditionsWhat is encouraging is that, apart from an odd light drizzle, Mirpur has experienced dry conditions and play is likely to take place. Even if there are any overnight spells of rain, locals are confident the drainage facilities at the ground can have the ground ready in an hour.
The pitch is expected to favour batting. The average score in Mirpur has been 239, but New Zealand's strong batting line-up will look to put up a big score. Captain Daniel Vettori said they would prefer to bat first and put up a score of around 280-300. New Zealand's line-up has aggressive stroke-players in Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum and they will definitely put pressure on Bangladesh's bowling line-up. Mohammad Ashraful, though, was confident his bowlers could defend a score of 230-240.
Form guide (last 5 ODIs, most recent first)New ZealandWWWWW
Watch out forJesse Ryder: Ryder has been rewarded with places on both the Test and ODI teams for the tour, during which captain Daniel Vettori expects him to make his mark as an international batsman. Criticised for his fitness in the past, Ryder had a great debut ODI series at home against England. A punch in a window of a bar ruled him out of action in February, but Ryder made a successful return, captaining New Zealand to the Emerging Players title in July. If McCullum and Ryder get going, not many from Bangladesh will be lining up to bowl.
Mohammad Ashraful: A man under immense pressure. Another bad series and Bangladesh's captain could be out of the team; even coach Jamie Siddons has said time is running out for Ashraful. He had been at the centre of Bangladesh's greatest triumph - over Australia in 2005 - but three years since, even the biggest of fans will find it hard to not find fault.
Tim Southee: The Player of the Tournament at the Under-19 World Cup this year, Southee has had a tremendous start to his international career. He scored a blistering 77 not out and took a five-for on his Test debut, and in seven ODIs, he has 16 wickets at 16.93. Those games came in seamer-friendly conditions in New Zealand and England; subcontinent pitches will make for a different challenge.
Team newsBangladesh have left out Mehrab Hossain jnr and Imrul Kayes from the XII for the match, which means uncapped Naeem Islam, who captained the Academy side in Sri Lanka, could make his debut. Junaid Siddique is likely to get another chance as opener, while Mahbubul Alam, another newcomer, might miss out.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique 3 Naeem Islam 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shahadat Hossain, 11 Syed Rasel.
New Zealand have not announced their XII but Jeetan Patel could get a game if the pitch favours spin.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Jamie How, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Ross Taylor, 6 Jacob Oram, 7 Grant Elliott, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Jeetan Patel, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Kyle Mills.
Stats & Trivia
Quotes"As I said before, there are no superstars here. They are replacement for the other guys who have gone. I think they will do the job as good if not better."
"We are certainly not going to use that as an excuse. We need to adapt quickly to the Bangladeshi conditions and with the new Powerplay rules. I think we are well covered in all areas and prepared for the series."
Daniel Vettori expects no slip-ups despite New Zealand's warm-up game being washed out.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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