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Nowadays, not often do we see a team touring to play only one test series. Zimbabwe playing a lone test against Bangladesh was one such rare occasion and Bangladesh came out triumphant in the only test played between the two teams. Zimbabwe proved to be no match to Bangladesh's prowess and were comfortably outclassed by Bangladesh in all three departments of the game. Zimbabwe will be looking to put their massive defeat behind and exhibit an improved performance in the shorter format of the game. The two teams are set to begin their quest with the One Day Internationals and first ODI is to be played on 1st March at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet.
Over the last fifteen years, Bangladesh have grown leaps and bounds in international cricket. Their progress has been even more pronounced in the fifty-over version of the game. TIn particular, they have enjoyed playing at home with their excellent spin attack troubling most of the teams facing them.
Bangladesh did reasonably well in the World Cup that was played in England, but have not played any ODI cricket thereafter. As part of their recent colored-clothing assignments, they hosted India in a T20I series back in November last year, the series which they lost 2-1. Recently, they are coming off a 2-0 loss to Pakistan in the shortest version of the game, but that was while playing away. Also, with most of their players opting not to tour, Bangladesh went in as a depleted side.
This ODI series presents Bangladesh with an opportunity to test waters before the World T20. Their ODI side is pretty similar to that of their T20 and they are likely to give their youngsters a chance, albeit without compromising on the team strength. Led by Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh looks covered on all accounts. WIth Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal at the top, they have a perfect amalgamation of exuberance and experience. Although Mohammad Mithun hasn't impressed much in recent times, he is likely to get another go in the top-four before closing the doors on him.
It is Bangladesh's middle and lower middle-order because of which they have made a mark in international cricket. Earlier it was the combination of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Mahmudullah Riyad, that would take them home, but now, with Shakib Al Hasan absent, the onus will be on the two remaining players.
On paper, their bowling doesn't seem to be as penetrative, but all of their bowlers have done extremely well in recent times. Also, they will be bowling in their home conditions, which are likely to suit the variations which the Bangladeshi bowlers posess. Mehidy Hasan is a pretty useful spinner down the order and can hit the ball big from the word go. He adds depth to their batting without compromising with the bowling strength. The same stands true for their skipper as well. Mustafizur's slower-ones could be handy on the kind of surface Sylhet has. All in all, Bangladesh have a well-balanced side. Additionally, playing at home offers them a considerably big advantage and as it was the case in the only test match, beating them is going to be an uphill task for the Zimbabwe.
Tamim Iqbal, Nazmul Hossain, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taijul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman.
Just like Bangladesh, who are likely to feature quite a few names who were not part of test match, the team for Zimbabwe is likely to a lot different than what they fielded in the one-off test match. Apart from Sean Williams, Richmond Mutumbami, and Tinashe Kamuhukamwe, Wesley Madhevere is included in the squad for the limited-overs leg of the tour. However, it would be interesting to see whether or not he features in the final team sheet. He is coming off excellent performances in Under-19 cricket wherein he smashed two fifties and picked up eight wickets.
Following Zimbabwe's dismal show in the test match, Brian Mudzinganyama, Kevin Kasuza, Regis Chakabwa, Prince Masvaure, and Victor Nyauchi have all been left out of the limited-overs squad. Chamu Chibhabha will be leading the side in the ODIs as well as the T20I series.
Zimbabwe were beaten ruthlessly in the test match, but they had plenty to of positives to take from there. Craig Ervine's form was a notable positive as he scored a fantastic hundred in the first innings and followed it up with a fighting 43 in the second innings. Brendan Taylor, however, failed to do anything of substance in both the innings of the match.
Considering how well Zimbabwe did in their home series against Sri Lanka, their performance in the only test came in as disappointment. They are a lot more capable side than their performance portrayed them to be in the test match and are likely to come back stronger in the limited-overs leg of the tournament. There is no doubt that Bangladesh won't be taking them lightly.
Chamu Chibhabha, TS Kamunhukamwe, Brandon Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Richmond Mutumbami, CT Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Wesley Madhevere, C Mpofu, Carl Mumba, R Chakabva.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team prediction for the 1st ODI of the series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe
While the difference between the two sides in the test match was as big as a pin and a plane, it is unlikely to be on similar lines in the colored-clothing format. With Sean Williams back, Zimbabwe will have a more settled middle-order and the Tigers will have to be wary of that. Confidence or lack thereof, however, could be a factor for the visitors. Bangladesh, on the other hand, would walk into the first match brimming with confidence. They are coming off a humungous defeat, enjoy the home advantage, and have a better-balanced side, at least on paper. Regardless of the odds offered, betting on Bangladesh's win would be a wiser way to go.
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