Can Bangladesh give Mushfiqur a fitting farewell?
Match factsMay 11, 2013
Start time 1330 (1130 GMT)
Zimbabwe's last Twenty20 experience at home is a cheery one. In the final of an unofficial three-nation tournament last year, they crushed a South Africa XI by nine wickets. There were several heroes that day for the home side, and as they play their first home T20 international in 18 months, the spirits would still remain high. Bangladesh, meanwhile, are at the opposite end of the cheery scale.
Zimbabwe have just clinched the three-match ODI series after coming back from a game down. They have a few more players who have stood up when the chips were down. The Taylors and Masakadzas took a backseat as Vusi Sibanda, Sean Williams and Tendai Chatara grabbed their opportunities to turn in match-winning performances. Zimbabwe would still rely on a strong bowling performance to pull them through, like in the last two ODIs. Chatara complemented Kyle Jarvis and Brian Vitori quite well, using his accuracy and bounce to surprise the visitors.
Hamilton Masakadza will be at the forefront of their batting and, with Sibanda also in form, there will be much to look forward to for the Bulawayo crowd that turns up on Saturday afternoon.
The same cannot be said about the visitors. After going down in the ODI series, they have lost their leader after he resigned in a fit of rage. Mushfiqur Rahim will still lead the team out but these will be his last matches as captain. For the time being, the team has to give him a fine send-off.
Bangladesh, just like Zimbabwe, have been without a win in their last five matches. Remarkably, for a young side with lots of trigger-happy batsmen, Bangladesh admittedly struggle in T20s. It will still be a close contest at the start but the team with more confidence will take this away quickly.
Form guideZimbabwe: LLLLL (completed games, most recent results first)
Players to watch
Hamilton Masakadza has six international fifties in this format, and can be explosive during a chase. He recovered from a poor spell in the BPL with a more productive performance in Zimbabwe's domestic T20 tournament, averaging 44.83 at a strike-rate just under 140.
Bangladesh don't possess too many T20 specialists but Ziaur Rahman is one of them. His big-hitting abilities have not come to the fore so far on this tour but this is a format where he has made a name for himself. With his medium-pace is coming together, he should go into these two matches in a confident frame of mind.
Zimbabwe are likely to continue with the combination from the ODI series. However, Elton Chigumbura has been ruled out of the T20 series after suffering a groin strain. Fast bowler Shingi Masakadza or legspinner Tinotenda Mutombodzi may find a place in the playing XI.
Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Sikandar Raza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Shingi Masakadza/Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Kyle Jarvis, 10 Brian Vitori, 11 Tendai Chatara
Shamsur Rahman will most likely come in, having been around the team since the end of the Test series. He did well in the BPL this year, so he has the runs behind him to stake a claim. The rest of the playing XI could remain the same as the ODI series.
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, 8 Ziaur Rahman, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shafiul Islam, 11 Robiul Islam
Pitch and conditionsThe 1:30 pm start will aid both both batting sides because the Queens Sports Club pitch flattens out in the afternoon. There will also be slight movement for the quick bowlers.
Stats and trivia
- Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have played just one T20I in 2006. Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 43 runs in that game
- The Queens Sports Club ground in Bulawayo has never hosted a T20 international
- Ireland (30) have played more T20 internationals than Bangladesh (28) and Zimbabwe (24)
- Hamilton Masakadza's six fifties are the most for any batsman on both sides. Abdur Razzak, with 36, has taken the most wickets
"It is a format we haven't played a lot of. But playing at home and winning this series, it gives us some momentum to take forward. We have a few things to work on. But we are going to be up for it."
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor on how motivated his side will be
"There are a couple of Zimbabwe guys who also play in the BPL. They know how we will go about the T20s, but we will hopefully bounce back."
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is not entirely banking on his players' BPL experience
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here