It does not matter whether the opponent is Australia or Zimbabwe achieving Comprehensive Series Whitewash across all three formats against and ICC full member team is always a huge achievement.
Including one off test three ODIs Bangladesh so far played 5 matches. Off these excepting the second ODI when Bangladesh experimented resting four first choice team players Zimbabwe was rocked and rolled. For a team which was looking down the barrel in not too distant past it is a huge achievement. A vary likely win again today will give the team huge shot in the arm ahead of very hectic season ahead. Though cricket is still tagged as game of glorious uncertainties, yet given the circumstances it appears that Bangladesh would win again today even if they try some of their benched players. Tamim and Liton are going great guns. Soumya looked pitcture perfect in his first match after marriage. Very strong middle and late order batting can easily afford to push Naim and Afiff batting among the top five. Keeping Saifuddin, Mustafiz and Aminul at the firing range Bangladesh can try a different bowling combination. Though with return of Ervine in visitors top order batting looks much stronger. Taylor, Williams and Sikandar Raza are expected together making a challenging score . But pulling a team out of the present hole will not be easy. Bangladesh is expected to cruise home with another comprehensive series white wash.
We are not sure what are the plans for BCB handling the match on the backdrop of major threat created from Corona virus. Many sporting events across the globe are being called off or being suspended. The last match of the tour can be played in front of thinner crowd. It is T20 and it is the major format at this time of the year as T20 world cup is round the corner. Bangladesh needs to develop the nucleus of the team given the fact that star Bangladesh all rounder Shakib Al Hasan would be sitting out serving his term of ICC suspension. It is not possible replacing a three in one player by a resource constraint team like Bangladesh.
It is great that terrific Tamim is back at his brilliant best. Given his class we always thought he required only one long stay at the wicket for unleashing. Is not he holder of most batting records in all formats. Now he has been given the added responsibility of leadership of ODI team. One of the “Fabulous Five” has wealth of experience. There is no reason of speculating that leadership would have any impact on his batting. Liton K Das with a little bit of adjustment of his batting approach stepped into form of his life. Whatever he is doing at the wicket is turning gold. Bangladesh has so many options now for number three in T20 or ODI. When Shakib is back he will favour as he did in CWC 2019 batting at three . But till that happens Soumya, Naim, Afiff in T20 and add to that list Shanto for test are options. All four are young prospects and are expected to serve Bangladesh for a long time. Presence of Mustafiz, Mithun, Mahmudullah in the middle order gives the team depth and stability. Return of Saifuddin has given a great option for a late order surge. Any of the top or middle order lasting long can not rely on Saifuddin executing some hefty blows for taking the target beyond the reach of opponents. Bangladesh batting is getting into top gear again. The self belief and can do attitude appears to have returned. We hope BCB selectors would not make too many experiments.
In the bowling department Mustafiz and Saifuddin must not be rested today. They need some match practice. Would like to see Aminul and Afif being used in tandem. Mahmudullah may not require a fifth bowling option. He is good enough to act as fifth bowler. He can try an additional batsman giving Naim an opportunity batting at three and dropping Soumya at five. Off course he has just returned and needs matches for cleaning off rusts if any. Aminul is a pretty exciting leg spinning prospect. I would also like to see Mehedy Miraj back as a top all rounder. He is a far better batsman than what he has done so far. I am not sure whether Bangladesh would take the opportunity for trying young pace bowler Hasan Mahmud today. In that case he must be accommodated resting Shafiul or Mehedy Miraj. If both Nasum and Mahmudul Hasan are included Shaiful and Meraj both should be rested.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 TamimIqbal, 2 Liton Das (wk), 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Mohammad Saifuddin, 8 Mahedi Hasan/Nasum Ahmed 9 Aminul Islam, 10 Shafiul Islam/ Mahmudul Hasan , 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Zimbabwe could give a chance to Charlton Tshuma, Ainsley Ndlovu or Regis Chakabva, as they look for the right combination against Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, 2 Brendan Taylor, 3 Craig Ervine, 4 Sean Williams (capt), 5 SikandarRaza, 6 Wesley Madhevere 7 Richmond Mutumbami (wk), 8 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 9 Donald Tiripano, 10 Chris Mpofu, 11 Carl Mumba
It is the last match of a long tour. Given the state of it we are not sure how much focused the tourists are now for a strong come back. Bangladesh must not take it at all likely. The quality top and middle order batting may still produce their A Game. T20 is a gamble. You win some and loose some. A comprehensive series white wash will be a huge boost for team Bangladesh.
BDST: 1231 HRS, MAR 22, 2020