Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Only Test, Preview – Untidy Tigers aim for some much-needed stability

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Only Test, Preview – Untidy Tigers aim for some much-needed stability

Zimbabwe have lost both their Tests against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Bangladesh
Bangladesh. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Bangladesh’s indifferent run in Test cricket for over a year now has made the team management chop and change way too frequently. The hefty defeat at the hands of Afghanistan in September last year rung the alarm bells. Then the losses to Pakistan and India in the Test Championship have led to more chaos in their setup. Nazmul Hasan Papon, the BCB chief, has also been in the thick of things.

The hosts are now set to return home where they will play Zimbabwe in the only Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka. It’s not a part of the WTC, but a victory can act as a morale booster ahead of their second Test versus Pakistan in April at National Stadium in Karachi. The Tigers are yet to open their account in the Championship after three defeats in succession.

Zimbabwe, on the other hand, are coming off a spirited show against Sri Lanka. The game in Harare ended in a draw, but the hosts were in contention for a win until the very last day. Nevertheless, their skipper in that game, Sean Williams, won’t be available as he will be away for the birth of his first child. Craig Ervine will be leading in his absence. Zimbabwe have lost both their Tests in Mirpur.

Team Combination

Bangladesh

In the Rawalpindi Test, the Tigers’ batters were guilty of getting out after scores in the 20s, 30s and 40s. Only Mohammad Mithun managed to get past the 50-mark in the second innings when the Tigers were well and truly on the backfoot. Tamim Iqbal failed after the triple ton in first-class cricket.

Najmul was one of the huge positives as on Test return, he showed grit. Rahim bolsters the batting and he has a bigger task at hand in Mahmudullah’s absence. Since Mirpur has helped spinners over the years, it won’t be a surprise if all three of Taijul, Nayeem and Mehidy Hasan end up playing.

Probable XI

Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (C), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das (WK), Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Abu Jayed Rahi, Ebadot Hossain/Mehidy Hasan Miraz

Zimbabwe

Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza are in good stead after getting fifties in their previous outing. Craig Ervine scores in the 80s and is in decent enough rhythm as well. In the absence of Williams, Timycen Maruma is likely to get a go. Taylor holds the key in the middle order without a doubt.

Bearing in mind the nature of the strip, the visitors may bring in left-arm spinner Ainsley Ndlovu in place of Carl Mumba. Meanwhile, Sikandar Raza is expected to be a threat after his seven-wicket haul in the second Lanka Test. Victor Nyauchi and Donald Tiripano should retain their positions.

Probable XI

Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza, Craig Ervine (C), Brendan Taylor (wk), Timycen Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva, Tinotenda Motombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Carl Mumba/Ainsley Ndlovu, Victor Nyauchi

Focus will be on

Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh)

Mushfiqur Rahim has been hogging the headlines of late when it comes to Tigers’ cricket. The Bogra-born backed out from the Pakistan tour citing security concerns. However, the national selectors have called him back into the squad. The Bangladesh batting has been no short of shambolic in recent times and with him being one of their stalwarts, Rahim has to inject some confidence in the boys.

Sikandar Raza (Zimbabwe)

Sikandar Raza got a seven-fer in the second Test in Harare and that would have given him a whole lot of confidence. In Mirpur, he is likely to get a spin-friendly wicket and is expected to be a handful. Once the cracks open up, the offie can be hard to deal with. Moreover, with a Test average of 35.07, Raza is no mug with the bat. In his last two Tests, the Pakistan-born had scores of 41, 17 and 72.

Head to Head

Played-16, Bangladesh won- 6, Zimbabwe won- 7, Draw- 3

Stat Attack

272- Runs Mominul Haque needs to complete 3,000 Test runs.

18- Runs Sikandar Raza needs to complete 1,000 Test runs.

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD

Online– Hotstar

Match Timings – 09:00 IST, 09:30 local time and 03:30 GMT.