THE loss in the T20I series will hamper Bangladesh when they take on the hosts Zimbabwe for the first of the three ODIs. It will be a fight worth watching, as the hosts will look to continue their winning momentum and dominance over the visitors. On the other hand, Bangladesh would look to plot the perfect act of revenge in order to take an early lead.
Zimbabwe did the unexpected as they registered a historic series win by defeating Bangladesh by 2-1 in the recently-concluded T20I series. They won the first game and took a lead, but the visitors bounced back stronger to level the series at 1-1.
The final game, the series decider, was a thrilling contest. While it looked like Bangladesh were dominating, Zimbabwe’s Ryan Burl changed the game in the course of six balls.
He amassed 34 runs off an over, hitting Nasum Ahmed for five sixes and a four. While the hosts were hanging by a thread at a point in time, Burl’s knock helped them post a defendable target as they put up 156 runs in total, and went on to win the match by 10 runs after restricting Bangladesh to 146 runs during their chase.
Nevertheless, the Bangladesh unit for the 50-over games is very strong, and they will have a command over the game from the very beginning. The visitors are backed by away series wins against South Africa and West Indies, two of the strong teams in international cricket. They would look to extend their ODI series winning streak by registering their third series win in a row.
The two T20Is that followed the opening game were more favourable for the bowlers, and the players found it difficult to rise to the occasion in the middle overs. Thus, Harare’s surface won’t assist the batters. A score of around 250-270 runs can be a defendable target.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud termed Bangladesh’s loss to Zimbabwe in the three-match T20I series a “disgrace”. Zimbabwe won their first-ever T20I series against any Test-playing nation after beating Bangladesh by 10 runs in the series-decider in Harare on Tuesday. Bangladesh are still finding it difficult to find their rhythm in T20Is, having won only 2 out of 11 games since last year’s T20 World Cup.
“I am very disappointed, I didn’t expect to lose to Zimbabwe,” Mahmud said.
“We are a better team than them. I would call it a disgrace. I won’t give any excuses. We should have won the T20I series.
“Losing was quite unusual. When we needed 10 or 12 runs an over, we were getting six or seven every over. Nobody even tried to hit a six. Everyone was playing for ones and twos. What was that? They batted like trying to protect their place, make enough runs so that they don’t lose their place.
“When you are chasing 157, you can’t win a game by batting at 90 or 110 strike-rate. Someone had to go after the bowling. Look at their (Burl and Jongwe) strike-rate. They changed the complexion of the game. You can’t expect Liton Das to score every day. Whether it was Afif or Shanto, I didn’t see anyone batting aggressively. If you can’t pull a short ball for six, that’s going to be a problem,” he added.
Mahmud added that they have picked the best possible options that were available to them and expressed doubt as to why the batsmen could not express themselves freely considering there was hardly any fight for any place, with the management wanting to give the players a good run.
“Those selected have all performed well in domestic cricket, including Munim Shahriar and Parvez (Hossain Emon). If your best players don’t perform, there’s nothing you can do. The cricketers can tell you what they have to do,” said Mahmud.
“They have been getting opportunities for quite some time now. There’s not a lot of competition for places, so they should play with an open heart. I haven’t seen them playing that way,” he added.
Bangladesh will take on Zimbabwe in a three-match ODI series in Harare from August 5, while the next two games are scheduled for August 7 and 10 respectively.
Playing Combinations for ZIM vs BAN
The hosts are in tremendous form in the white-ball format and will be pumped up after their T20I series win against the opponents. It would be interesting to see what strategies they put in place in order to defeat Bangladesh. They’ll need to repeat some similar heroics like in the 20-over games, but with more precision and care. – crictracker.com/cricbuzz.com