Bangladesh will be eager to carry on the momentum they gained through the 143-run win in the second Test match when they take on Zimbabwe in the first one-day international today at Bulawayo.
Considered as one of the luckiest venues for the visiting team, the Tigers will once again start as favourites as the three-match ODI series gets underway at the Queens Sports Club.
In 10 one-dayers played at the venue, Bangladesh were victorious in six matches with two games being abandoned and the home team winning on two occasions. The trend does not stop there as Bangladesh also registered two of their highest ever one-day scores at the venue.
Alongside England, Bangladesh are the most successful visiting team at Bulawayo in limited-over internationals.
Bangladesh will also take confidence from their recent one-day performances which earned them plaudits from the cricket pundits. Runners-up in the Asia Cup, the Tigers beat West Indies 3-2 in the one-day series and held Sri Lanka 1-1 in their own backyard, which is a commendable achievement in itself.
While Bangladesh’s Test record is ordinary against Zimbabwe, they have already outperformed Zimbabwe in limited-over cricket, particularly in the one-dayers. In their 59 meetings, Bangladesh posted 30 wins against 26 defeats.
Though Zimbabwe won the series 3-2 last time they met, the Tigers won both the matches held at Bulawayo. The record at Bulawayo also encouraged Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who insisted on a good start.
‘The start is important, so we need to do well in the first game. We have great memories of Bulawayo, so we will do well there,’ Mushfiq said after the win in the second Test.
Bangladesh will be boosted by the return to the line-up of ace all-rounder Sakib al Hasan, who missed the limited-over leg in Sri Lanka. Tamim Iqbal will also make a return having missed the last two one-dayers in Sri Lanka due to a finger injury.
They will also be boosted by the tireless displays of pace bowler Robiul Islam, who will be expected to make his bow in the ODIs after picking up 15 wickets in the just-concluded two-Test series.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will once again depend heavily on the services of wicketkeeper-cum-captain Brendan Taylor to deliver the goods for the home team.
A lot of responsibility will be on Hamilton Masakadza’s broad shoulders, who struck a century in the second Test match against the Tigers.
The first one-day international might work as a precursor to the rest of the series and both the teams will be mindful of getting a winning start and maintaining the momentum till the end of the three one-dayers.
And Bangladesh will rightfully start as strong favourites on paper although they still have to go out onto the field and complete the job.
-With New Age input