December 26, 2016
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT)
It may not seem so but New Zealand have a fight on their hands on Boxing Day. In their corner is a very healthy record at home - 21 wins out of 27 matches over the last two years. But against them stands a Bangladesh side which had whitewashed them the last time they met in a bilateral series in 2013. This time the visitors are armed with Mustafizur Rahman, who was named ICC's Emerging Player of the Year.
On the only occasion he bowled against New Zealand, in the World T20 in March, Mustafizur took a five-wicket haul. Bangladesh have had to make do without him for nine months and would welcome his return, although they would be wary of overworking him. Mustafizur had to undergo surgery to his left shoulder in July and was yet to test his bowling and throwing arm in international cricket.
New Zealand should enjoy being back in their own conditions, for on tour they lost to India 2-3 and were then blanked out 3-0 by Australia. They've made a few changes as well and, with the returns of Luke Ronchi and Neil Broom - who hasn't played ODI cricket since 2010 - to complement the mainstays Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, their aim might be to bat Bangladesh out of the game.
Not that their bowlers are slouches. Trent Boult and Tim Southee are two of the finest quicks in the world, although both are set to be rested later in the tour. Lockie Ferguson and Colin de Grandhomme serve as supporting seamers while Mitchell Santner is the lone spinner, tasked with keeping things tight.
Given their tendency to play spin well, a lot of Bangladesh's focus would be on the hosts' four pacers. So it should help that an opening batsman is in top form. Tamim Iqbal has scored over 1000 in the last two years in ODI cricket, averaging 47 with three centuries and six fifties, and if he established dominance early, not many attacks can cope. There may be a shake-up in the middle order, though. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim could be pushed up to tackle the extra pace and movement in Christchurch, while youngster Mosaddek Hossain may be squeezed between Sabbir Rahman and Shakib Al Hasan to look for late runs.
(completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: LLLLW
In the spotlight
Martin Guptill was New Zealand's highest run-scorer in ODIs in 2016, and featured among the top-ten overall. He has been a dangerous figure at the top of the order and in his last innings against Bangladesh, in Hamilton, Guptill scored a century.
Much of what Bangladesh achieve in the first ODI would hinge on Mustafizur Rahman, who is likely to make a comeback after a five-month layoff due to surgery on his left shoulder. As a result, Mustafizur's action has undergone a slight change. Given his fast arm-movement has been key to his success, it would be interesting to see how he performs.
Neil Broom is likely to take Henry Nicholls' place at No. 4, and Luke Ronchi should replace BJ Watling behind the stumps. Matt Henry and James Neesham face competition from Lockie Ferguson and Colin de Grandhomme for the third seamer and allrounder's positions respectively.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Neil Broom, 5 Colin Munro, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Matt Henry/ Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Mustafizur proved his match fitness during Bangladesh's warm-up game in Whangarei and is likely to play. Nasir Hossain wasn't in the ODI squad, so a call has to be made to include one of two players - Mehedi Hasan and Tanbir Hayder.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Sabbir Rahman, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Tanbir Hayder/Mehedi Hasan, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
In three completed List A matches this year, the average first-innings score at the Hagley Oval has been 272. There's virtually no chance of rain, with a high of 20-degree Celsius on match day.
Stats and trivia
- Both Bangladesh (3) and New Zealand (7) have won and lost an equal number of ODIs in 2016 so far.
- Bangladesh's only international win in New Zealand was against Scotland in the 2015 World Cup.
"They have been getting better and better every year, and certainly at home, they are extremely tough to beat. They have turned over most oppositions that have come their way in their own conditions, and they are getting more and more experienced playing around the world, so it'll be a tough challenge and we will have to be playing our best cricket."
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84