Bangladesh will lock horns against Zimbabwe in the first match of the T20I tri-series on Friday at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. This series also gives an opportunity for the hosts to build a team for the T20 World Cup next year in Australia. All is not well for Bangladesh after the 50-over World Cup as they have lost all the matches (3 ODIs and 1 Test) so far.
However, the change in format should bring relief to them but Shakib Al Hasan’s men would want to guard against complacency. The Tigers boast of a much-experienced line-up though they will miss their veteran Tamim Iqbal who’s been granted a break from the game.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will be finally back in action after being in the news for all the wrong reasons following the ICC suspension. A few of their talented cricketers announced their retirement soon while the skipper Hamilton Masakadza will be playing his last series. Sikandar Raza is also not part of the squad as he was left out on disciplinary grounds.
The visitors though will be eyeing to make the most of this chance to prove their mettle on the 22 yards and stay in the headlines for their heroics in the middle.
Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das will open in Tamim’s absence while the rock of Bangladesh line-up, Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim will follow them. The onus will be on top 4 to score runs at a fair clip and lay the foundation for the big hitters to come. Afif Hossain is a very good prospect and is one of the finds of the BPL.
Mahmudullah is badly in need of runs and a good outing should increase his confidence. Sabbir Rahman is expected to take up the finishing responsibilities and the time has come for him to start delivering consistently. Mosaddek is also a decent bet with the bat and he will have to bowl four overs as well. Saifuddin and Mustafizur will look after the pace attack with Sarkar also likely to roll his arm if needed.
Probable XI: Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam.
The visitors will need Masakadza, Taylor, Ervine and Williams to do the bulk of the job in the batting department. Ryan Burl has also put his hand up on multiple occasions and a lot will be expected of him. He can actually open the innings with the skipper to give the team a quickfire start.
The bowling attack comprising of Karvis, Mpofu and Chatara looks decent. Sean Williams will look after the spin department with Tinotenda Mutumbodzi likely to get a nod as he is a legspinner looking at Bangladesh’s struggles against the wrist spinners in the recent past.
Probable XI: Hamilton Masakadza (C), Brendan Taylor (wk), Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Timycen Maruma, Ryan Burl, Tinotenda Mutumbodzi/Tony Munyonga, Kyle Jarvis, Christopher Mpofu, Tendai Chatara, Neville Madziva.
Focus will be on
Mahmudullah’s poor run has extended even after the World Cup. The time is running out for him and with the management looking ahead to the T20 World Cup next year, he will have to prove his mettle in this series to retain his place. He might have to bowl as well and then come down the order to score quick runs.
Hamilton Masakadza (Zimbabwe)
Masakadza will be playing the last series of his career and the Zimbabwe opener will be eyeing a good start. He would love to lead from the front for his team. With1529 runs to his name in 62 T20Is, Masakadza is one of the most experienced players for the visitors and much will depend how he bats in the powerplay in this series.
Head to Head
Matches – 9 | Bangladesh won – 5 | Zimbabwe won – 4
1 – Zimbabwe have won only 1 T20I out of their last 14 matches in the format.
48 – Mustafizur needs only two scalps to complete 50 wickets in T20 Internationals.
TV – Star Sports Select 2 HD
Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings: 6:00 IST (6.30 PM local; 12:30 PM GMT)
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