Tigers target total dominance over below-par Zimbabwe
Hosts Bangladesh and the visiting Zimbabwe will square off on Sunday (October 21) in the first of the three-match ODI series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur. The match will begin on 2.30 pm as it is a day-night affair. [বাংলায় পড়ুন: প্রথম ওয়ানডের জন্য বাংলাদেশের সেরা একাদশ]
There was a time when Bangladesh and Zimbabwe used to be the arch-rivals. The cricket world would mock their contests as the ‘Mini Ashes’. In the beginning days, Zimbabwe were the sure-shit favourites, while Bangladesh would win matches only once in a while.
But those days are gone. Zimbabwe’s golden days are now just a matter of past. On the other hand, Bangladesh are now on their way to become the new powerhouse of world cricket. Statics will also be a good proof of that. So far Bangladesh and Zimbabwe faced each other for 69 matches, most for both sides. And in exchange of Bangladesh’s 41 victories, Zimbabwe could win only 28 of them. Since 2010, Zimbabwe lost all 13 ODIs they played against the Tigers in Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe’s record in this year is also not satisfactory at all. After beating Ireland in a World Cup Qualifier on their home turf, they are winless across formats. While they lost their last 10 ODIs at stretch, overall they won only 17 out of 23 ODIs they played this year, and one match was tied. Their records in T20Is are even worse. They failed to win a single match out of eight T20Is this year.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, are not having their best of years in world cricket for sure. Still they made to the final of three multi-national tournaments this year. They reached the tri-series final in January, then played in the Nidahas Trophy final, and last they also featured in the final of the Asia Cup in the UAE.
In total, Bangladesh played 14 ODIs so far this year, won eight and lost six. They also won four of their 13 T20I matches this year.
As far as numbers and recent statistics are concerned, it is more or less certain that nowadays Zimbabwe are simply no match for Bangladesh. Still their reason to worry could be the absence of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, two biggest superstars of the country’s cricket.
But is the absence of those two players really going to impact much on the current Bangladesh set-up? It does not look like that. Under the captaincy of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the Tigers are definitely expected to squash the visitors in all sectors. Anything less than a victory would be considered as an upset for the hosts.
Bangladesh will have to deal with some injury problems. Captain Mashrafe is not hundred percent fit, as he still has pain in the finger he had injured during the Pakistan match in Asia Cup. Pacer Rubel Hossain might also be unavailable for the match because of a viral fever.
As Tamim is not there, and also Soumya Sarkar out of the squad, it will be interesting to see who opens alongside Liton Das. Fazle Rabbi could make his debut in this match and bat at No.3 as the replacement of Shakib, while the bigger role to play as Shakib’s replacement will definitely have to be carried out by Mehedi Hasan Miraz.
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (captain), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Wellington Masakadza, Brandon Mavuta, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara