After mixed results in recent times, New Zealand will look to finish the year on a high, as they face Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series. The significant aspect here, of course, is that the Kiwis will be playing at home, for they have an exceedingly poor record when they face Bangladesh in Bangladesh. The visitors on the current tour blanked the Kiwis when they visited Bangladesh back in 2013. New Zealand go into the current series having been whitewashed 3-0 in Australia, but they will take confidence from their success at home against Pakistan in the Tests.
While Bangladesh have improved tremendously while playing at home, they remain poor travellers. This series will thus be a massive challenge for them, as they look to change the perception. The first ODI at Christchurch on Boxing Day will mark the return to international cricket of Mustafizur Rahman, the man who has been instrumental in Bangladesh’s change of fortunes at the international level. New Zealand will remember him as the bowler who took five wickets against them in the World T20 match earlier this year. He has recently been recognised as ICC by the Emerging Player of the Year.
For the visitors to succeed on the tour, they will need their experienced batsmen to stand up. Tamim Iqbal has been among their most successful batsmen in recent years, but a majority of his big scores have come at home. Iqbal though knows he has what it needs to succeed in varied conditions. In Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, they have two consistent middle order bats. Their experience should come in handy for Bangladesh this time. Then of course, there is the promising Sabbir Rahman and proven performer Shakib Al Hasan. All-rounder Mashrafe Mortaza remains the skipper.
As mentioned earlier, New Zealand will be seeking return to winning ways. In Martin Guptill, they have one of the most destructive openers in the world in one-dayers. Against the Bangladesh bowlers, he will be raring to have a go. New Zealand have an impressive batting line-up, particularly for home conditions. Guptill will be accompanied by his talented opening partner Tom Latham, to be followed by skipper Kane Williamson. The series will also mark the return to international cricket of Neil Broom, who last played an ODI in 2010. He will be followed up Colin Munro and Luke Ronchi, so Bangladesh could put the lower order under pressure.
At home, Tim Southee and Trent Boult are undoubtedly among the most dangerous opening bowling pairs in world cricket. How Bangladesh batsmen deal with them could go a long way in determining the eventual result of the series. Colin de Grandhomme made an impressive debut against Pakistan. He will want to continue the great work against another Asian opponent. Mitchell Santner has fit into the all-rounder’s role nicely, something the more talented Corey Anderson has failed to do. There will be a tussle between Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson for one of the bowling slots.
--By A Cricket Analyst