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There is some terrific cricket being played across the globe at the moment. South Africa is surprisingly leading 2-0 in the ODIs against Australia and almost every match in Women's T20 is going down to the wire. While the first ODI of Zimbabwe's tour of Bangladesh turned out to be anti-climatic, the second ODI certainly turned heads. Chasing a seemingly impossible total, Zimbabwe lost by a margin of just four runs as they came from behind to scare the hosts. With that performance, they would have gained in confidence and could present an altogether different challenge in the final ODI. Bangladesh are expected to give their youngsters an opportunity and that might just give Zimbabwe a bit of an opening. The third match of the series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe is to be played at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, Sylhet, on Friday, 6th March.
Bangladesh have been terrific agaist Zimbabwe so far and they will be keen to register a white-wash before moving on to T20Is. While winning the match is going to be the priority, they are expected to experiment a bit and, therefore, they have decided to keep Mushfiqur Rahim out of the third ODI so as to provide their youngsters a chance before Bangladesh takes on Pakistan in a one-off ODI, which is to be played next month.
The upcoming match would also be an emotional moment for Mashrafe Mortana and Bangladesh Cricket fans as this will be last game for Mortaza as a captain. His inclusion as a player in the future games is still unconfirmed and subject to fitness tests. Mortaza has been Bangladesh's most successfull captain with an unparalled record and his absence is likely to be felt for a long time.
While Bangladesh are coming off two consective wins, the margin of win in their previous match could raise some eyebrows. After registering a massive win by a margin of 169-runs in the first match, Bangladesh narrowly escaped in the second match as Zimababwe lost the match by a narrow margin of four runs. On paper, however, Bangladesh still appears to be a solid side. Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das are in terrific touch and that is a huge positive. The absence of Mushfiqur Rahim is likely to create a void, considering how well he did in the previous match. Having said that, Bangladesh have enough talent on the bench and excluding him seems to be a pretty well calculated move.
On the bowling front as well, Bangladesh seem to be well equipped. While Al Amin Hossain was expensive in the previous match, the other bowlers bowled beautifully. Mehidy Hasan Miraz troubled Zimbabwean batsmen as he returned with pretty impressive numbers. He conceded just 25 runs in his seven overs in a match where most of the other bowlers were carted for over six runs an over. Taijul Islam was the pick of their bowlers in the second ODI as he picked up three important wickets for 52 runs in his 10 overs.
All in all, despite the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim, the home team appears to be a solid unit. They have most of their batsmen in fine form and the bowlers, too, have enjoyed bowling in this series. They have the home advantage, which has always brought the best out of them. Given the form they have been in, it would be rather surprising if they aren't able to complete a white-wash with a win in the upcoming encounter.
Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Afif Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman.
After Tamim Iqbal's blistering knock in the first innings, the result appeared to be a foregone conclusion for the visitors. Coming off an embarrasing defeat in the first ODI, the visitors were already low on confidence and were then left to chase down a total of 318. Things always appeared out of their reach, only until Donald Tiripano arrived at the crease.
Zimbabwe were reeling at 225 for 7 in the 42nd over when Sikandar Raza fell and Donald Tiripano arrived at the crease. Zimbabwe needed a little less than a hundred runs in around eight overs to level the series. Coupled with Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano launched an assault on Bangladesh's bowlers and got his side close to a win. Mutombodzi was dismissed in the final stage of the pursuit after scoring 34 off 21 deliveries. Tiripano carried on with his adventure and scored a half-century that raised the hopes of Zimbabwean camp as well as their fans. A good final over, however, ensured that Zimbabwean camp and their fans are left heart-broken at the end. Bangladesh were a bit fortunate as umpire made an error on the second last delivery as he didn't call a wide that was there, leaving Zimbabwean fans in agony.
Earlier on the day, there was nothing much that Zimbabweans got right. Sikandar Raza kept Zimbabwe in the game with his 66-run knock. He was helped by Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Wesley Madhevere as they both contributed with useful fifties each. With the ball, there wasn't much that went right for the tourists. Carl Mumba picked up two important wickets for them, but he gave away 64 runs in exchange. Tiripano, as well, returned with a couple of wickets, but was too expensive. Sean Williams and Wesley Madhever were the most economical bowlers for Zimbabwe and enjoyed bowling on the slowish surface. They are expected to be key to Zimbabwe's fortuned in the third match as well.
All in all, Zimbabwe have, without a doubt, are the underdogs going into the third match, but previous match of the series proved that they are the team that can not be taken lightly. With Bangladesh likely to rest a couple of their important players, Zimbabwe certainly stand a good chance to register a consolation win in the upcoming encounter.
TS Kamunhukamwe, R Chakabva, Brandon Taylor, Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Richmond Mutumbami, CT Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Charlton Tshuma, Carl Mumba.
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Zimbabwe may have lost the previous match, but they certainly won the hearts of the fans across the globe with the kind of effort they put in the second ODI of the match. They were rendered inches short of scripting a historical win and will be looking to do so in the third ODI wherein Bangladesh will be without a couple of their key players. They have a good team on paper and it showed when they did well against Sri Lanka earlier this year. However, they appear to be struggling to adapt to the conditions, something which the hosts have not had a problem with. Comparing the two sides on paper and on the basis of performance on this tour so far, Bangladesh appear to be miles ahead, and are, therefore, our pick to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter
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