Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) and Hamilton Masakadza (Zimbabwe) pose for photo with Tri-nation T20I series trophy in Mirpur on Thursday. -BCB
A bruised Bangladesh will be desperately looking to reverse their recent inconsistent performances when they take on Zimbabwe in the tri-nation T20 series opener today. The famous Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur is ready to shake out of its slumber as the most awaited match is scheduled to start at 6:30 pm.
Bangladesh, who were blasted apart by tourists Afghans in the historical Test, will look to make amends, especially in their batting. Tigers was not just able to deal with the wrist spin, with Afghan spin wizards Rashid Khan and Zahir Khan both having them hopping around. None of Bangladesh batsmen showed temperament and the ability to handle Afghan attack, and even rash shots by some of their batsmen didn't help Tigers' cause.
The going hasn't been great for Bangladesh cricket in recent few months. Despite some spirit show in the halfway of the World Cup, Bangladesh faced an early World Cup exit, finishing eighth before they were brought down to the ground when Sri Lanka hammered them 3-0 in recent concluding ODI series. Even Tigers have a lot of problems going into the Tri-series series after conceding humbling defeat to Afghanistan in the one-off Test match.
A positive start will be ideal given the compact nature of the tournament but a loss would be an embarrassment for the Bangladeshis, who must negotiate Zimbabweans if they are to make a run for the final.
Tigers' problems are many. The unavailability of Tamim Iqbal was a cruel blow for the Bangladesh. While Shakib remains at the helm of the T20 side, the squad will be bolstered by T20 specialists such as Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Saifuddin, along with the return of Afif Hossain.
Tigers' bowling worries are even more acute than their batting. No bowler was able to make the desired impact on Afghan batsman. Tigers' pace attack is boosted by the return of pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman and Shaif Uddin's inclusion.
The tournament is equally a challenge for new newcomers like spin all-rounder Sheikh Mehedi Hasan and Yasin Arafat Mishu to secure national place. Left arm spinner Taijul also earned T20 call for the first time.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza who is set to retire from all forms of international cricket after the conclusion of the T20I tri-series, publicly expressed his gratitude to the Bangladesh Cricket Board for giving them an opportunity to be part of top level cricket despite Zimbabwe's suspension by the ICC. As they came in Dhaka to take part the tri-nation series, Zimbabwe's focus will be remain on cricket.
"End of the day as cricketers our job is to get off the field and play the best cricket on the field. That's how we are judged on, that's happening on the board. First and main thing is to concentrate on cricket and then put our best foot forward going out and do your job for your country tomorrow," Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza told in a press conference on Thursday.
Although, all in all, Zimbabwe have been going through terrible form and have lost 12 out of their last 14 T20Is including losses against South Africa, Netherlands and Ireland, but they have been good against Bangladesh for some reason and have won both of the last two T20Is against the Tigers.
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