The Bangla Tigers are set to take on the out-of-form Zimbabwe side in the opening fixture of the three-match ODI series at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on Sunday, October 21.
Both the teams have played 69 ODIs against each other, with Bangladesh comprehensively edging the head-to-head scoreline 41-28. Meanwhile, the Tigers are haven't lost an ODI against the African side since 2013 and remain undefeated at home since 2010.
Bangladesh seem geared up for the upcoming series against Zimbabwe. The Tigers beat West Indies 2-1 in their most recent bilateral ODI series and had an outstanding outing at the Asia Cup, where they reached the finals of the tournament on the back of impressive wins against Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka before losing the finale in heart-wrenching fashion.
In the absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan, the Tigers will bank on the services of Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das to score some big runs. Rahim hit 302 runs in five matches during the Asia Cup, including one knock of 144 in the opener against the Islanders. Das hit his maiden ODI hundred in the final against India and will hope to continue his form against Zimbabwe as well. The Tigers will also need Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar to step up on occasion and rotate strike in the middle overs.
Mustafizur Rahman has been the go-to man for the hosts in recent times and claimed ten wickets in five matches during the Asia Cup. Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain both took six wickets and will be expected to rattle the opposition early on.
Expected Playing XI
Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Nazmul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, and Soumya Sarkar.
On the flipside, Zimbabwe have not won an ODI since failing to qualify for the World Cup in the CWC qualifier 2018 and despite the comeback of many players in recent series against South Africa, there was not much change in their fortunes. Now they will have another ray of hope in Sikandar Raza, who has ended his international exile to join the likes of Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams in returning to the squad.
The comeback of Sikandar Raza is seen as a major boost for the Zimbabweans. The charismatic batsman who was adjudged the player of the tournament in the CWC Qualifiers has not featured for his national side since then. Taylor, Ervine and Williams are the other key figures in the lineup and the team will need all these players along with Solomon Mire to put up essential contributions and post a commendable total on the board.
Tendai Chatara was the pick of the lot in the ODI series against the Proteas with five wickets in the first two games comprising spells of 2/12 and 3/42 respectively. Kyle Jarvis impressed everyone with his wicket-taking abilities in the T20I series against South Africa and the skipper will need to bowl a tight spell and provide some breakthroughs up front.
Expected Playing XI
Hamilton Masakadza (C), Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Donald Tiripano, Brandon Mavuta, Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara.