Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 1st ODI, Bulawayo May 2, 2013

Zimbabwe aim to stall Bangladesh's Bulawayo success story

Match facts

May 3, Bulawayo
Start time 0900 (0700 GMT)

Big Picture

As it had been before the Test series, Bangladesh are slightly ahead of Zimbabwe leading up to the ODI series in terms of form, recent results and experience. But the 1-1 scoreline after nine absorbing days in Harare means the "favourites on paper" theory is not applicable to these two teams.

Mushfiqur Rahim's side should carry some momentum from the 143-run win in the second Test. The most encouraging sign for them has been the middle-order bouncing back from a wretched time in the first match. Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain have scored two fifties each, while Tamim Iqbal has shown he can still bring out his A-game despite a thumb injury.

The visitors' bowling too has more edge to it. Robiul Islam was adjudged Man of the Series for his 15 wickets, brought mostly through accuracy and the regular use of the outswinger. He will have to bring a bit more of his skills into this format, one he hasn't played yet at international level. Robiul is expected to make his debut alongside Shamsur Rahman, who's likely to open with Tamim at some stage of the limited-overs leg of the tour.

Zimbabwe have April 17 to 20 to look back at. They crushed Bangladesh by 335 runs in those four days, with superb showing from captain Brendan Taylor and quick Kyle Jarvis. The likes of Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer and Shingi Masakadza also had important roles to play in the win. There were several positives in that game, and they would do well to bring that attitude into this ODI series.

They have a poor record at the Queens Sports Club against Bangladesh, though, winning two out of eight completed games. They have two legspinners in the squad in Natsai Mushangwe and Tino Mutombodzi, and that could be prove to be an advantage over Bangladesh this time around.

The first game of the ODI series promises much, simply because both sets of players mostly have attacking mindsets. Though Bangladesh have won and drawn the two ODI series they have played this season, Zimbabwe are their closest rival in the international game and hence there is bound to be nerves.

Form guide

Zimbabwe: LLLLL (completed games, most recent results first)
Bangladesh: WLWLL

Players to watch

A century in the second Test was a much-needed boost for Hamilton Masakadza. He was forceful during the unbeaten 111 too, and the same would be expected of him in the first ODI; Zimbabwe would be keen to see their No. 3 get some runs, given their openers' ordinary scores off late.

A Man-of-the-Series performance in the Test series is enough to win Robiul Islam his first ODI cap. He has been a revelation on the tour so far, and will be expected to bring out the same levels of accuracy in the ODIs.

Team news

Regis Chakabva could continue opening with Vusi Sibanda, though Sikandar Raza has been kept in the squad. Legspinner Natsai Mushangwe was impressive in the West Indies, and is likely to play ahead of Prosper Utseya, while Brian Vitori could also make a comeback.

Zimbabwe (possible) 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Regis Chakabva/Sikandar Raza, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Natsai Mushangwe, 9 Shingi Masakadza, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Brian Vitori.

Opener Jahurul Islam's ordinary run in the Test series could see him make way for newcomer Shamsur Rahman, who could make his ODI debut alongside Robiul Islam. It would be tempting to play three seamers, in which case Mahmudullah could miss out.

Bangladesh (possible) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shamsur Rahman, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Nasir Hossain, 7 Mahmudullah/Ziaur Rahman, 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Robiul Islam.

Pitch and conditions

Being Bangladesh's happy hunting ground, the Bulawayo pitch must be more like those produced in the subcontinent; it will remain slow and may turn later in the game. The cooler climate will make it a more pleasant affair for both teams.

Stats and trivia

  • Bangladesh have won in Bulawayo six times in 10 ODIs. Level with England, they are most successful visiting team at this venue
  • The last ODI century by a Zimbabwe player was 18 months ago, by Brendan Taylor. He has scored the last five tons for his country in this format
  • Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak are the highest run-getter and wicket-taker in Zimbabwe-Bangladesh ODIs

Quotes

"The start is important, so we need to do well in the first game. We have great memories of Bulawayo, so we will do well there."
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim digs up reassuring recollections

"Our top four batters have got the potential to score hundreds and that is big for us. We have got some quality, experienced spinners like they have. In the West Indies I think our bowlers bowled really well and contained some dynamic batsmen so we can take a lot out of that."
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor believes his team has the right balance.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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