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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Zimbabwe seek favourable end to rough month

Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams punch gloves during their stand Getty Images

Big picture

Bangladesh-Zimbabwe series have lately been exclusively one-sided, so a dead rubber certainly doesn't do much to add excitement. But for a Zimbabwe side that has endured a horrid last month or so, the third ODI in Chittagong will be another opportunity to prove their worth ahead of the Test series.

That's not to say everything's been perfect in the home team camp. Fazle Mahmud is still searching for his first international run, having been dismissed for ducks in both ODIs so far. But such slip-ups have been the exception rather than the norm.

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, their two senior batsmen, are yet to kick into higher gear, but that has been tapered over by the good form of the others. Imrul Kayes and Liton Das put on 148 for the first wicket in the previous game. Mohammad Mithun has looked well-settled in the middle order. And Mohammad Saifuddin has proven his utility with bat and ball, which should be encouraging for the captain and coach.

With the ball, Mustafizur and Mashrafe have done well, but Nazmul Islam, the left-arm spinner, has underwhelmed apart from those two stunning deliveries to dismiss Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza in the first game.

Zimbabwe have failed to capitalise on strong positions. They reduced Bangladesh to 139 for 6 in the first ODI, but then conceded a 127-run seventh wicket partnership. In the chase, they made a quick start and then slipped to 100 for 5 in the 26th over.

Brendon Taylor made 75 in the second game but got out just when they were picking up their run-rate around the 30th over. Sikandar Raza just missed his fifty, but his effort was thwarted by some excellent slog-overs bowling.

Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara were quite effective in Dhaka, sharing seven wickets, but on a flat pitch with dew around, they couldn't force the issue in Chittagong. Raza took three wickets but legspinner Brandon Mavuta couldn't quite bowl enough deliveries that threatened the batsmen.

Form guide

Bangladesh: WWLWW (Last five completed matches, most recent first)

Zimbabwe: LLLLL

In the spotlight

With scores of 144 and 90, Imrul Kayes has been Bangladesh's best batsman this series. If he finishes with another big score, he would be hard to drop when Tamim Iqbal returns from injury.

Sikandar Raza showed his allround worth with 49 and three wickets in Chittagong. With a bit more support, Raza can show more of his flare as a middle-order batsman and a handy offspinner.

Team news

There could be opportunities for Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Ariful Haque, Rubel Hossain and Abu Hider, all of whom have not played in this series, but Soumya Sarkar's late inclusion is an indicator that the team management wants to try him, most likely in the top-order.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Liton Das, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Fazle Mahmud, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mohammad Saifuddin, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Nazmul Islam

Places may be available for any of Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Richard Ngarava, John Nyumbu, Wellington Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda, after many of Zimbabwe's players underperformed in the first two games.

Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Hamilton Masakadza (capt), 2 Cephas Zhuwao, 3 Brendan Taylor (wk), 4 Sean Williams, 5 Peter Moor, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Sikandar Raza, 8 Donald Tiripano, 9 Brandon Mavuta, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Tendai Chatara

Pitch and conditions

Chittagong will offer another batting track, but the captain winning the toss will surely want to field first because of the evening dew. Weather remains pleasant with no rain forecast.

Stats and trivia

  • Imrul Kayes needs 79 runs to cross Tamim Iqbal's 312 runs, the highest tally by a Bangladesh batsman in a three-match ODI series.

  • Brendan Taylor's 75 in the second game helped him cross Elton Chigumbura to be Zimbabwe's highest ODI run-getter in Bangladesh.

Quotes

"We have discussed the importance of making full use of your chances, so in that regard, Imrul and Liton missed their centuries. They rued it, but such opportunities have to be created. It doesn't present itself all the time."
Mashrafe Mortaza on Imrul and Liton getting out in the 80s and 90s in the second game.

"It was a series that we were targeting, and I thought we did have a good chance. We did get ourselves into great positions in both games, but we just haven't managed to pull through."
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza

Bangladesh 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st0Imrul KayesLiton Das
2nd220Imrul KayesSoumya Sarkar
3rd54Mushfiqur RahimImrul Kayes
4th14Mushfiqur RahimMohammad Mithun