Should be a cake walk
The ODI series of Bangladesh against Zimbabwe should be a cake walk for Bangladesh even without two match winners Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan if team plays to its potential. [বাংলায় পড়ুন: প্রথম ওয়ানডের জন্য বাংলাদেশের সেরা একাদশ]
Bangladesh on paper is much stronger team and with Mashrafe Bin Mortaza marshaling his resources series whitewash should be the logical conclusion. But since the name of the game is cricket funny things do happen. Bangladesh must not take it easy. They must continue producing their A game and must remain relentless.
Zimbabwe over the past several years is struggling to come to terms and prove competitive against full member teams. Their cricket had several topsy turvy situation . Now they seem to be crawling back slowly . Bangladesh on the other hand is proving a very competitive team in ODI format. Recent injuries of key players like Shakib and Tamim has weakened the team to some extent. Mashrafe, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah are also not 100% at the moment. Even then on Bangladesh with three of the fabulous five and other fringe players like Liton , Kayes, Miraz, Rubel and Mustafiz should win the series with ease. The situation offers opportunity for players like Mithun, Shanto, Ariful and Saifuddin .prove their potential. I think it was not alright that Mominul was not included in the squad .Bangladesh has genuine problem at number three .Even playing Soumya down the order and using his bowling could be useful. Bangladesh must create some options in the opening pair with Tamim , a good solid number three and an ideal pace bowling all rounder at number seven. We are not sure whether suspension would change Sabbir . In his absence Ariful and Saifuddin are ideal options . Hope they get tuned .
Playing against a team lower in ICC ranking present challenge of a different kind to superior teams. Win does not change situation much but even a single loss matters. Hamilton Masakadbza , Brendon Taylor , Craig Irvine and seasoned campaigners . One or two good partnership may create challenge for Bangladesh . Bangladesh must continue bowling well . The bowling unit has great diversity now . Mashrafe as usual bowls intelligently and accurately varying his pace and applying his cutters . He remains a genuine wicket taker . Mustafiz is steadily getting back his brilliant touch. Rubel bowling fast and furious . Mehedi Miraz has matured . Nazmul Opu should tease Zimbabweans . We are sure Mashrafe would like Saifuddin and Ariful settling down. There is always golden arm of Mahmudullah Riyad. I do not think absence of star all rounder Shakib would be that much felt against Zimbabwe.
As far as batting is concerned loss of Tamim at the top and Shakib early on may hurt . Hope Liton carries his great recent form and Kayes bats well. With Ariful and Saifuddin at the late middle order Bangladesh may try Mahmudullah batting at three .That is where he batted in the last world cup. Bangladesh would need Mahmudullah and Mushfique anchoring the batting and others rotating around them. Mithun, Shanto and Miraj have not proved their enormous potential with the bat for assuming the leadership role. This series presents them with the opportunity. Zimbabwean bowling is not that menacing. Scoring 270-280 runs should not be a problem for Bangladesh. If they can do that in all matches Bangladesh would earn another series white wash. But never things be taken lightly in cricket .Bangladesh must let loose at any stage of any match.
Hope this ODI series provides opportunities for team think tank evaluating some well needed options and back ups. Bangladesh like other teams are preparing for ICC World Cup 2019. Wickets should be sporting favoring good bowling and batting
Zimbabwe ODI Squad:
Hamilton Masakadza(c), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Brandon Mavuta, Richard Ngarava, John Nyumbu, Wellington Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Tendai Chatara, Cephas Zhuwao
Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Liton Das, Imrul Kayes, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Ariful Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Nazmul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Abu Hider Rony, Mohammad Saifuddin, Fazle Mahmud