With the series squared 1-1, hosts Bangladesh and England have everything to play for in the deciding one-dayer at Chittagong. But, rain is likely to play a huge role in the final match, and there is a decent chance of the game being washed out or shortened significantly, as it has been pouring at the venue, and there is forecast for heavy rain on match day as well. If at all the rain relents, we could be in for a humdinger of a match considering how the series has progressed thus far. Verbal volleys have been traded as well. A win could give Bangladesh their seventh straight home series victory in a row, so that would be some inspiration for the hosts.
The series so far has been a case of lost opportunities. Bangladesh crumbled in the first match, rather inexplicably, to lose the match from a winning position. In the second game, it was England's turn to return the favour. Their batsmen could not chase down a target of 239. The batting of both sides thus need to pull their socks up. Bangladesh might hold a psychological edge of sort considering they go into the match with the winning momentum. But, the English were clearly not pleased with the over the top celebrations, and made the same clear. There has been some banter as well between the teams, so England will be keen to give it back.
Even though Bangladesh won the previous game, their batting has been hugely disappointing in both the matches so far. If one takes away Imrul Kayes' hundred and Shakib Al Hasan's 79 in the first match, and Mahmudullah's 75 in the second, the rest have just not been up to the mark. Tamim Iqbal, their most dangerous player, has not got runs at the top. Sabbir Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim too have struggled. It is imperative for these experienced Bangladesh players to put their hands up, especially considering the tense situation under which the match will be played. In short, an all-round batting effort will be expected.
Bangladesh would be extremely pleased with the efforts of their bowlers in the previous match. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza brought all his experience into play to claim match-defining figures of 4 for 29. The skipper got excellent support from pacer Taskin Ahmed, who claimed three wickets. The duo constantly kept England on the backfoot. The inclusion of Nasir Hossain also had the desired impact. He kept it extremely tight, claiming 1 for 29. In addition, he also chipped in with a run-a-ball 27 with the bat. Shakib and Shafiul Islam will be expected to do better with the ball.
England though know they have the team to overcome Bangladesh even under the given conditions. This was evident in the manner in which they overpowered the hosts in the opening match. But, they need to string themselves together again in the wake of the defeat in the previous match. The continued poor form of James Vince across formats would be beginning to trouble England in a big way, and it is also hurting their batting combination. The team management would hope that the batsmen have learnt from their failures in the previous match. In the bowling, Jake Ball has stood out in unexpected fashion. England would want him to keep the momentum going.
--By A Cricket Analyst