Having been comprehensively outplayed in all of their last three outings including the Test match against Zimbabwe, Bangadesh must summon all their resources to overcome a crisis of form and to lift their confidence level to stay alive in the five-match series.
The Tigers stare an embarrassing series defeat after losing their first two encounters against Zimbabwe which have triggered the talks of a crisis, something which skipper Sakib al Hasan acknowledged after the seven-wicket defeat on Monday.
But this is not the first time Bangladesh cricket finds itself immersed in a crisis. Only as recently as March this year, the Tigers embarrassingly folded their innings at 58 in the World Cup on home soil against the West Indies that heralded a brief period of turmoil.
After the West Indies debacle, however, the team displayed remarkable tenacity and spirit to overturn their fortunes, firstly with a memorable victory against England followed by the win against Netherlands.
The Tigers failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup but that was more due to bad luck than performance.
Bangladesh will be hoping for a repeat of that feat today in the must-win encounter at the Harare Sports Club and what should also encourage the Tigers is their favourable record of overcoming a deficit in a series against Zimbabwe in the recent times.
Nevertheless, while the Bangladesh team find themselves having their backs to the wall, the Zimbabweans have never looked like relinquishing their new-found supremacy over the Tigers.
Whereas a target of 189 in the previous years might have caused a few jitters down the Zimbabwean side, their top-order knocked off the runs with relative ease taking the side to the brink of a first ODI series win against Bangladesh in six years.
In Brian Vitori, the Zimbabwean attack has found a cutting edge as was once again apparent when the Bangladeshi top-order stumbled to 58-6 which effectively ended the Tigers’ hopes of levelling the series on Monday.
For Bangladesh, the only batsman in the side to emerge with any credit from their latest setback was debutant Nasir Hossain whose 63 runs in the face adversity propelled the side to a somewhat respectable total of 188.
Captain Sakib al Hasan attributed the team’s below-par totals of 184 all out and 188 all out so far in the series to their mental failings rather than technical deficiencies. And consequently, changes to the line-up are expected to be made with the hope of arresting the slide.
There could be a debut for Shubhagata Hom while left-hander Junaed Siddique, who has yet to feature in a game on the tour, is also likely to be reinstated in the side.
If Junaed is selected, Shahriar Nafees will be the obvious candidate to face the chop while either of the wayward Mohammad Ashraful or the out-of-
form Mahmudullah is likely to make way for Shubhagata.
-With New Age input