Zimbabwe have enjoyed a month of rare success. After dominating the T20 World Cup qualification tournament, they registered a maiden T20I series win over Bangladesh. There was a lot of fun and partying at the Harare Sports Club. The focus though now has to quickly shift to the ODIs, a format in which there’s a massive gap between the two teams this year. Bangladesh also come in with a 19-match winning streak against Zimbabwe.
This also includes the 3-0 win last year. That series was part of the ICC ODI Super League, but this series isn’t. Still, Tamim Iqbal has made it clear that Bangladesh can’t afford to take any series lightly these days.
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Zimbabwe will be without key players Craig Ervine (hamstring and knee injuries) and Sean Williams, who has been given a break due to personal matters. Regis Chakabva is the stand-in captain in Ervine’s absence.
Also missing are established seamers Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani. The less experienced Bradley Evans and Victor Nyauchi, who bowled effectively in the third T20I couple of days ago, are in the new-look ODI squad. The pair will combine with Richard Ngarava and Luke Jongwe in the pace-bowling attack, while Wellington Masakadza is the lead spinner. Zimbabwe will have to rely heavily on Sikandar Raza, Wessly Madhevere and Ryan Burl in the batting department, which has a number of inexperienced players.
Bangladesh meanwhile will hope that their Zimbabwe tour will improve with Tamim and Mushfiqur Rahim back in the batting line-up. They will expect the likes of Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mosaddek Hossain to shine with the bat, while Tamim may prefer three seamers for the early morning starts in Harare. It would mean Taskin Ahmed returns to the ODI line-up after missing two ODIs in the West Indies.
Overall, Bangladesh will remain on high alert after Zimbabwe showed so much heart in the T20Is.
Zimbabwe LLLLW (last five completed matches; most recent first)
In the spotlight
Ryan Burl became one of the most talked-about cricketers this week when he struck 34 runs in an over against Bangladesh. It was the joint-second highest runs in a single over in T20Is, as Burl helped Zimbabwe to a 2-1 series win. He doesn’t have great numbers in ODIs this year, but Zimbabwe will hope he carries some of this confidence into the longer format as they start a long ODI run against Bangladesh, India and Australia.
Taskin Ahmed was Bangladesh’s Player of the Series against South Africa in March but a shoulder injury has taken the sting out of him. Taskin has been wicketless since the South Africa tour, having played just one ODI in the West Indies, and two T20Is in which he went for 88 runs in seven overs. Tamim Iqbal would expect a stronger showing from Taskin, as a three-man pace attack is warranted at the Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe have to make at least five changes to the side that played their last ODI against Afghanistan in June. Takudzwanashe Kaitano could bat in the top order while Luke Jongwe, Evans and Nyauchi may be the three seamers.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Innocent Kaia, 2 Wessly Madhevere, 3 Takudzwanashe Kaitano, 4 Sikandar Raza, 5 Regis Chakabva (capt & wk), 6 Ryan Burl, 7 Milton Shumba, 8 Luke Jongwe, 9 Brad Evans, 10 Wellington Masakadza, 11 Victor Nyauchi
For Bangladesh, Mushfiqur Rahim will slip back into the middle order after missing the West Indies tour, but the lack of allrounders means there is likely to be a long tail.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Litton Das, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 8 Taskin Ahmed, 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Shoriful Islam
Pitch and conditions
The pitches at the Harare Sports Club were quite batting-friendly during the T20I series earlier this week, but in ODIs over the last five years, teams batting first have averaged a lowly 225. Probably why 12 out of 21 teams have lost when batting first. The weather is supposed to be dry during the series.
Stats and trivia
- Bangladesh are on a 19-match winning streak in the format against Zimbabwe, dating back to 2014.
- Zimbabwe have won just one bilateral ODI series – against UAE – in the last five years.
- Bangladesh will be playing their 400th ODI during this series.