Athletic

Bangladesh-Zimbabwe T20 series begins Monday

After whitewashing Zimbabwe 3-0 in the ODI series, the Tigers are set to start their two-match T20 series against the visitors on Monday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur with an eye on the best combination for the ensuing T20 World Cup.

Mahmudullah Riyad-led Bangladesh will play their 2nd and last T20 match against Zimbabwe on Wednesday at the same venue.

Both the matches will start at 6pm and will be telecast live by Gtv.

Earlier, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe faced each other in T20 on 11 occasions where theTigers won seven of them.

“We aren’t too far from the T20 World Cup. I think this is the right time to look for a good combination for the World Cup so that we can come up with the good team. If we can play match by match to win,it’ll help boost our confidence before the World Cup,” Mahmudullah, the stand-in captain of Bangladesh, told the media on Sunday.

Despite having a good record against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh captain said, they are going to take this series as seriously as they usually take against any other opponents.

“Challenge is always here. You have to take a challenge in every game in international cricket. We’ve played a good brand of cricket against Zimbabwe in Test and ODIs. Despite this, they’re a strong team in T20Is. We’ve to play positive cricket to win the series,” Mahmudullah added.

Mohammad Saifuddin is set to return to the T20Icricket after a lay-off of five months due to injuries.

Mahmudullah said the inclusion of Saifuddin will help him set up a good combination.

“We’re very clear about our strategic plan. I’ve discussed it with our coach. Everyone will get freedom to play in their own position. Saifuddin returned to the T20I setup again. I think it’ll help us come up with a good combination. As a pace-bowling all-rounder, he makes our job easy,” the Bangladesh captain further said.

Regarding wicket in Dhaka, Mahmudullah said Bangladesh can score 180 runs if they bat first. He said: “Our batsmen are enjoying a good rhythm. We’ll set our target once we see the wicket. But I believe we can score 180 runs in the wickets of Dhaka.”

As the format is T20 now, Zimbabwe’s captain Sean Williams believes the match can swing either way.

“I think T20 can swing either way. Two balls can change the game. We’ve a young team who are excited to play the shorter format in Mirpur. We’re fully focused on the T20s. I haven’t mentioned ODIs to the players at all. It looks like they’ve clear minds in the net sessions. It’s a lot better now. I think the freedom to play T20s will change things. But the basic of our game were very poor,” Williams told the media on Sunday.

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were the same types of teams once. But, since the last decade, Zimbabwe failed to improve like Bangladesh. According to Williams, the present difference between the two teams is of difference in skillset.

“For me, it was a matter of skill. Our skill levels were down. Our basics were poor. Two new balls in either ends but no wicket in the first 10 overs meant that it was extremely hard on our spinners. And then the spinners not taking wickets in the middle period made it hard for the pace bowlers in the death overs. We only got two run-outs with the new ball, so we have to improve fast,” Williams added.

Probable playing XI (Bangladesh): Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Al Amin Hossain and Aminul Islam Biplob.

Zimbabwe playing XI (Zimbabwe): Tinaseh Kamunhukamwe, Regis Chakbva, Brendan Taylor, Crag Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Carl Mumba, Donald Tiripano, Ainsley Ndlovu.

Source: United News of Bangladesh