It has been Zimbabwe all the way in the ‘battle of minnows’ so far. After a comprehensive victory against Bangladesh in the one-off test, the home team started on a bright note the five match ODI series by clinching the first match without any major alarms. On paper, Bangladesh look a far better side with many experienced players, but Zimbabwe have managed to outclass their arch-rivals with grit and determination.
ZIMBABWE SQUAD: Brendan Taylor (c), Brian Vitori, Christopher Mpofu, Craig Ervine, EltonChigumbura, Forster Mutizwa, Hamilton Masakadza, Keegan Meth, Kyle Jarvis, Malcolm Waller, Prosper Utseya, Regis Chakabva, TatendaTaibu (wk), TendaiChatara, VusimuziSibanda.
BANGLADESH SQUAD:Shakib Al Hasan (c), TamimIqbal (vc), ImrulKayes, JunaidSiddique, Mohammad Ashraful, MushfiqurRahim (wk), Mahmudullah, AbdurRazzak, Shafiul Islam, RubelHossain, NazmulHossain, ShahriarNafees, Robiul Islam, ShuvagotoHom, NasirHossain.
With many talented youngsters coming through the ranks after introduction of franchise system in domestic cricket, Zimbabwe, finally seem have a team that can compete at the top level. Led by an excellent captain, Brendon Taylor, the African side has gelled well as a team. The on-field celebrations give an impression that everybody in the team is enjoying his cricket.
Zimbabwe dominated proceedings in the first one-dayer, both with the bat as well as the ball. Brian Vitori, who had a spectacular debut in the tests, started his 50-over journey with a bang registering a five wicket haul in the very first outing. Bowling figures of 5-30 earned him the distinction of being the first Zimbabwean to get a fifer on debut. As a left armer, he seems to have worked out the angles very well. He has troubled both right as well as left handed batsmen constantly by pitching the ball in the right areas. Bangladesh batsmen need to find a solution for the Vitori problem otherwise they will find it difficult to post substantial scores in any of the remaining matches.
When the tour started, Bangladesh were expected to dominate but the listless showing would have dented their confidence in a big way. After all, losing to a team against whom you are supposed to do well can take a heavy toll on the morale and inhibit your natural game. As far as bating is concerned, the visitors have tried to play too many shots too soon. The dismissals of TamimIqbal and Mohammad Ashraful in the last game were nothing shots. With little bit of patience, the experienced duo could have prolonged their stay at the crease add some more runs to what their team eventually ended with.
Bowling, which usually is their strong point, has been exposed on this tour thus far. The army of spinners, the Shakib al Hasan side employs hasn’t made much of an impact. The need of quality fast bowlers has been felt all through the Test, with the ODI series the woes have continued. The difficulty for Bangladesh arises when the opposition batsmen play their slow bowlers well or the track doesn’t aid them, the last match had both the factors acting in tandem.
Time is running out for Bangladesh, if they lose the next match they will have to win all the three remaining matches to win a series, which by their current form looks a remote prospect.
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