New Zealand will be out to take revenge for their 0-4 embarrassment in 2010. Bangladesh, like they have been since the 4-0 win, will once again be out to prove that they are indeed making steady progress. Their improvement is marked in the ODI format, more than in Tests or Twenty20s, but the visitors too have been in good form over the last 12 months. New Zealand have won two of their last four bilateral series, against South Africa and England.
They are, however, without Martin Guptill due to an ankle injury, and have to put together a new opening partnership. Hamish Rutherford could open with newcomer Anton Devcich, as captain Brendon McCullum has preferred batting at No. 5 or 6 in the recent past. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are batsmen in form while there are plenty of allrounders in the line-up to be used at different occasions.
Grant Elliott, Corey Anderson, James Neesham and Colin Munro are all options that are available to McCullum, alongside his brother Nathan who is the sole specialist spinner in the squad. Devcich's left-arm spin could prove useful, while the pace attack has a fit Tim Southee, Kyle Mills and the new sensation Mitchell McClenaghan. Adam Milne provides the extra yard of pace.
While Bangladesh's pace attack is a little rickety with Mashrafe Mortaza making a comeback, their batting line-up is beginning to look solid. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim leads a middle order that has Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain, while Mominul Haque's two Test centuries will hold him in good stead.
Tamim Iqbal is in good nick having scored two fifties in the Mirpur Test. Anamul Haque hasn't scored much in the Tests, so he will be hungry for some runs. The spin attack also looks dangerous with Shakib, Abdur Razzak and Sohag Gazi in the fray.
The Test series felt incomplete with rain ruining the final day in Mirpur. The ODI series, therefore, should be the decider of the tour. The question as to whether it is Bangladesh or New Zealand who are in the ascendancy in ODI rankings, will be answered over the next seven days.
(last five matches, most recent matches first)
Bangladesh LLWWL New Zealand LWLWW
Watch out for
Mitchell McClenaghan hasn't played competitive cricket since August this year but his ODI record reads very well with 29 wickets in 10 matches. The left-arm fast bowler will complement Mills and Southee in the New Zealand attack.
Nasir Hossain has been Bangladesh's supreme finisher for the past two years. He comes in at No. 7 and makes sure a promising chase doesn't go awry. When Bangladesh bat first, he finishes it well with the tail-enders. He is a very good fielder too, and his offspin can also come in handy.
Brendon McCullum has said that Devcich is going to make his ODI debut, opening with Hamish Rutherford. The top and middle order is likely to be the same although they have to take a decision on whether to play Grant Elliott or Neesham after Anderson. The four-man bowling attack is likely to bear a similar look with Southee in the lead and Nathan McCullum being the sole specialist spinner in the line-up.
New Zealand (likely): 1 Anton Devcich, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Brendon McCullum (capt & wk), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Grant Elliott/James Neesham, 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Mitchell McClenaghan
Shakib's participation is uncertain after his fever worsened on Monday evening. The team management will take a final call on till Tuesday morning. "Shakib is uncertain," BCB's chief medical officer Debashish Chowdhury said. "He is carrying 103 degree fever and we are giving him medication to reduce the temperature." He added that the final decision to play will rest on Shakib. If he misses out, Naeem Islam could be drafted in. Mominul and Mushfiqur too were under the weather, and the captain along with Shakib, skipped training.
Anamul may continue to open in the ODI format but there are decisions to be made when picking the No. 3, as well as whether they would pick seven or eight batsmen. Mortaza is set to return and partner Rubel Hossain, while there is a greater chance of both spinners Gazi and Razzak playing in the match.
McClenaghan has taken four 4-wicket hauls in his first ten ODIs.
This will be Bangladesh's first ODI since they completed 25 years of international cricket in the country. The first-ever ODI played in Bangladesh was on October 27, 1988.
Rubel is one wicket away from 50 in ODIs.
Pitch and conditions
The Mirpur wicket in limited-overs matches has generally been very batsman-friendly. It promises to be the same for the first two ODIs in this series. There is, for once, a better forecast for the match day, with no rain expected.
"I know there is a lot of expectation. At the same time we must remember that New Zealand is a good side in this format, so whoever plays well on that day will come as victorious." Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza
"We want to focus on playing good, competitive cricket. We are a good enough one-day unit and we will be difficult to beat." New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum