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Zimbabwe look to level series

Zimbabwe's comprehensive comeback win in the third ODI was the best thing that could have happened to the series

Match facts

Sunday August 16, 2009
Start time 09.30 (07.30 GMT)

Big Picture

Zimbabwe's comprehensive comeback win in the third ODI was the best thing that could have happened to the series. Else, the last two games would have been reduced to dead rubbers. It halted Bangladesh's seven-match winning streak and caught them in a moment of complacency. When Zimbabwe lost two early wickets, it seemed like an all too familiar story but they put the setback behind them and showed true character in amassing a total which was sure to test a team on the upswing.
On a Queens Sports Club pitch which offers little margin for error for the bowlers, it's obvious that the better batting side will win. Zimbabwe fell short while chasing 321 in the second match, still managing to fight it out till the end. They went one step further in the third, pacing the innings intelligently and not allowing the Bangladesh spinners to get on top of the them. Promoting Elton Chigumbura proved a masterstroke because he had the cushion of runs to go out there and butcher the attack. A total of 323 eased the pressure on the bowlers. With the openers gone within two overs, there seemed an air of inevitability to the result before a last-ditch effort by Mahbubul Alam gave the visitors something to cheer.
Bangladesh will look to snap out of Friday's effort and put in a better all-round performance. They dropped two crucial catches in the field, crucially letting Chigumbura off early, leaked many singles and the top order wilted too early, leaving plenty to the middle order.
"We know that we did not execute our plan well and we let our standards drop," the vice-captain Mushfiqur Rahim said after an intense training session. "Everyone realises that we only have ourselves to blame for the defeat on Friday. We are really focused on putting up a much improved show tomorrow."

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe - WLLWW
Bangladesh - LWWWW

Watch out for…

In a team of trigger-happy hitters, Raqibul Hasan stands out as a batsman who is prepared to drop anchor and build an innings. He showed that in the West Indies where his calm presence helped his team out of a nervy situation and seal their first ever overseas win. His 78 in the third ODI came at a decent clip but it was just his bad luck that the support from the other end wasn't as forthcoming as he would have liked.
Elton Chigumbura's savage assault was indicative of Zimbabwe's hunger to put it across to the visitors. He capitalized on the third Powerplay and Bangladesh struggled to plug the onslaught. He also took the valuable wicket of Shakib Al Hasan and edged out Hamilton Masakadza for the Man-of-the-Match award.

Team news

Bangladesh have already announced their XI for tomorrow, with the only change being the inclusion of Junaid Siddique in place of Mehrab Hossain jnr. Naeem Islam opened in the third ODI with little success, so he's likely to drop down the order to accommodate Junaid.
Bangladesh 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Raqibul Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Mahbubul Alam, 10 Enamul Haque jnr., 11 Syed Rasel
Zimbabwe are yet to announce their XI, but it won't be surprising if they stick to their winning combination. Their top scorer in the second game, Sean Williams, missed the third, so there's a case for his inclusion. He could replace Vusi Sibanda, who was out for a second-ball duck.
Zimbabwe: (probable) 1 Vusi Sibanda/Sean Williams, 2 Mark Vermeulen, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (wk), 5 Charles Coventry, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 8 Malcolm Waller, 9 Prosper Utseya (capt), 10 Ray Price, 11 Tawanda Mupariwa


"The wicket is absolutely flat and there is no margin for error. The game has to be won with high intensity cricket and if you lose concentration for a few overs while fielding then the match can quickly get away from you."
Mushfiqur Rahim calls it as he sees it

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo