Bangladesh look to build on improved showing
Match factsJanuary 19, 2008
Start time 09.00 am (03.00 GMT)
Big PictureBangladesh failed to beat Sri Lanka in a thrilling tri-series final in Mirpur but an improved performance in their last two ODI's - including a win against Sri Lanka in the group stage - will give them the edge going into the three-match series against Zimbabwe.
The hosts were upset by Zimbabwe in the first match of that tri-series but were able to raise their game when it mattered. Bangladesh had relied heavily on Shakib Al Hasan in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka, and while he continued his good form in the tri-series, his team's better show in the tournament was the result of a more collective effort.
Shakib was well supported by spin partner Naeem Islam and the fast bowlers rose to the occasion. Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain took seven wickets between them in Bangladesh's win in the league match against Sri Lanka, and Nazmul Hossain took three wickets in the final to help reduce Sri Lanka to 6 for 5. However, their top three batsmen struggled, managing only 46 runs between them in three games, and Zimbabwe will be keen to capitalise on their lean run.
Zimbabwe won their first ODI against a Test-playing nation in over a year when they beat Bangladesh in the tri-series opener, but their batsmen capitulated for 80 against Sri Lanka. They had run Sri Lanka close in three of the five ODI's in their home series prior to the tour of Bangladesh but squandered winning positions in each of those three games. They also struggled against the spin of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan, and subsequently against Shakib and Naeem, who took three wickets each in the tri-series opener. Zimbabwe won their tour match against Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy comprehensively, but their batsmen failed once again and were bowled out for 89 in the first innings.
Both teams were inconsistent, and had their highs against Sri Lanka in recent encounters, but Bangladesh peaked at the right time and their impressive performance against a quality outfit will give them the confidence and the momentum going into the ODI series.
Form guide (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
Watch out for
Ed Rainsford took seven wickets in his last three ODIs, including two successive three-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka, and will spearhead Zimbabwe's pace attack. He's taken 10 wickets at 36.20 against Bangladesh and will want to improve upon that. He also took 3 for 27 in the first innings of the tour match to bowl out BCB Academy for 59.
Nazmul Hossain performed well in the tri-series final, taking 3 for 30, and shone against Zimbabwe in the tour-match, capturing eight wickets. However, he would want to reduce his economy-rate of 5.54 and support new-ball partner Mashrafe Mortaza before Shakib and Naeem are brought on to bowl.
Rubel Hossain took four wickets in Bangladesh's win against Sri Lanka in the league stage of the tri-series, and despite proving expensive in the final, he's likely to be retained in place of Mahbubul Alam. Bangladesh, however, made a change to the batting order with Mohammad Ashraful moving up to No 3.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza ,10 Nazmul Hossain, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Zimbabwe were yet to announce their 12 for the match. Despite the flop against Sri Lanka, they might retain the winning team that beat Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Tatenda Taibu, 4 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Keith Dabengwa, 8 Prosper Utseya (capt), 9 Ray Price, 10 Tawanda Mupariwa, 11 Ed Rainsford.
The pitches during the tri-series produced a series of low scores with an average of 18.60 per wicket in the last four ODIs. The side winning the toss chose to field each time, with the pace bowlers looking to utilise the favourable conditions in the morning and take some early wickets.
Stats and Trivia
- The average runs-per-wicket at the Shere Bangla National Stadium is 26.49, significantly higher than the 18.60 in the four matches in the tri-series. Bangladesh average 26.97 per-wicket here in 17 matches.
- Zimbabwe enjoy a 19-15 win-loss record against Bangladesh. Since 2006 though, they have won five and lost 11 against them.
"We want to win every match convincingly. That's how we approach every game we play. I guess 200 can be a competitive score if you bowl and field well."
Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya on what a competitive score might be.
"We are all expecting it to be 3-0 if we play good cricket in all three departments. We will go into it match by match." Ashraful expects a clean sweep.