Zimbabwe eye a series win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:Junaid Siddique, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mehrab Hossain, T Taibu
Event:Zimbabwe in Bangladesh 2008/09

DateLine: 20th January 2009


The low-scoring contests have been thrilling, but the letdown for the crowds has been the fact that the home team has failed to convert strong positions into wins. Bangladesh had the opposition down to 6 for 5 and 44 for 6, but still failed to defend totals of 152 and 124 against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. While the first defeat robbed them of a chance of winning a tournament, the second leaves them facing the prospect of an embarrassing series loss to Zimbabwe, a team ranked below them in the ICC ODI rankings.


Zimbabwe are on the verge of winning the three match series and Utseya would want his team to step up and complete the task. His side stretched Sri Lanka at home last year - although a scoreline of 5-0 does not suggest that - and a series win here would indicate they are perhaps ready for more frequent contests against Test-playing nations. Also, a series loss will be a big dent in confidence for Bangladesh, with critics already saying they don't deserve to be playing Test cricket.


Mashrafe Mortaza has been the steady bowler for Bangladseh, chipping in with tidy economical displays when not among the wickets. His three top-order strikes set the way for the upset over Sri Lanka, and a similar showing could be the early punch needed to floor Zimbabwe.


Like Bangladesh, the batting will be the worry for Zimbabwe as well. With opener Junaid Siddque having a best of 3 in his last four innings, Bangladesh might consider replacing him with Mehrab Hossain jnr, who has shown some application in Tests. Another worry for captain Mohammad Ashraful is the bowling towards the end of the innings - Bangladesh have been found wanting in the final few overs more than once. Rubel Hossain leaked vital runs against Muttiah Muralitharan, and Bangladesh did not manage to wrap up the tail in the previous game against Zimbabwe.


Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique/ Mehrab Hossain jnr, 3 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Nazmul Hossain, 11 Rubel Hossain.


Tatendu Taibu has been unable to come up with substantial scores in recent games. Zimbabwe's bowlers have performed well, and it's unlikely they will tweak a winning combination.


Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 4 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Keith Dabengwa, 8 Prosper Utseya (capt), 9 Ray Price, 10 Tawanda Mupariwa, 11 Ed Rainsford.


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