Bangladesh knocked New Zealand out of the ICC Champions Trophy and kept their hopes alive thanks to Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in 2017. -Collected
Bangladesh have never beat New Zealand in New Zealand while New Zealand have never beat Bangladesh since 2010 in Bangladesh. In their previous ODI, at a neutral venue in Cardiff in 2017, Bangladesh stunned New Zealand with an epic come-from-behind win.
Ahead of the ODI series opener in Napier on Wednesday, many felt that this was Bangladesh's best chance to win games in New Zealand.
However, Shakib Al Hasan's injury has created a gaping hole in the line-up. But nonetheless, it promises to be an exciting contest. New Zealand themselves have a few holes to plug after their 4-1 series defeat against India. The only game they won was when they bowled out India for 92 in Hamilton, but in the other four games they couldn't sustain the pressure for longer periods, according to the agency.
Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham were among the runs while Trent Boult and Matt Henry had one good outing each during the ODI series against India. The home side will also be buoyed by the 2-1 T20I series win over them.
Tim Southee hasn't found much swing in white-ball cricket, but New Zealand can fall back on the extra pace of Lockie Ferguson. How Bangladesh tackle New Zealand's pace attack could have a big say in which way the series swings. If Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das can complement Tamim Iqbal, it will ease the pressure on Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in the middle overs.
Can Sabbir Rahman then fulfill his potential and finish the innings? Bangladesh pace attack, too, will have to step up. Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin will all have to play key roles, particularly in the slog overs.
In the absence of Shakib, there is extra pressure on the inexperienced spinners Mehidy Hasan and Nayeem Hasan. Matt Henry's four-wicket haul in the last ODI against India could help him retain his spot for the series opener against Bangladesh, who haven't been comfortable against rapid pace away from home.
Soumya Sarker's unbeaten 80 against West Indies, in Bangladesh's last ODI in Sylhet, ensured that they won the series in style. Now, he has to adapt to quite different conditions as he looks to put behind a tough BPL campaign Bangladesh may be tempted to bring in Mohammad Saifuddin instead of Rubel Hossain, particularly in Shakib's absence.
Bangladesh (probable XI): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Liton Das, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman
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