Challenges aplenty for Tigers ahead of ODI series

    A few aspects of Bangladesh’s cricket will be put to test when they begin the important three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, part of the ICC ODI Super League, today at the Harare Sports Club Ground.

    Coming fresh from their commanding 220-run victory in the one-off Test, Bangladesh will hope to carry the momentum to the limited-overs format and bag maximum number of points from the available 30 in this series. In fact, the Tigers, who sit second in the Super League points table with 50 points from five wins in nine games, should target all 30 points from this away series given their tough challenges ahead.

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    Out of their 15 remaining Super League matches, Bangladesh are scheduled to play three matches against World Champions England at home this year and three against South Africa away next year as part of their Super League commitments.

    Hence, with Bangladesh having to fight against the odds to even rescue a few points from these 60 points against England and South Africa, the Tigers would certainly need to ensure maximum points against weaker opponents like Zimbabwe, even while playing away from home. Moreover, Bangladesh, by having lost their final ODI against Sri Lanka at home earlier this year in May, only made their pathway to the 2023 World Cup even more challenging.

    With the importance of this series being stated, it is to be seen how Bangladesh take on this challenge with the current injury concerns in the side and without their key player Mushfiqur Rahim, who is missing the remainder of the series as he left for Dhaka on Wednesday due to a family crisis.

    In a latest blow to the squad, ace left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman’s chances of starting in today’s game was rendered ‘fifty-fifty’ by skipper Tamim Iqbal yesterday after the pacer sprained his right ankle during Tigers’ only warm-up game on Wednesday.

    Even Tamim, who missed the one-off Test against Zimbabwe due to a knee injury, will be playing in today’s game, and probably the rest of the matches in the tour, by managing his knee pain.

    “It [Tamim’s knee injury] will take time to recover. It’s not something that will recover after five or six days of rest. Now, what we are trying is to manage the pain and play. I think I can play this series by managing the injury,” said Tamim during the pre-match press conference yesterday.

    While Bangladesh might face difficulty in finding the right team balance owing to the injury concerns and unavailability of key players like Mushfiqur, the fact that the Tigers have last won an ODI series away to Zimbabwe as far back in 2009 will probably contribute to additional pressure on the visitors.

    Lastly, despite a resounding victory in the one-off Test in Harare, the outcome of that game was largely overshadowed by Mahmudullah Riyad’s retirement issue. And even though Tamim mentioned that the Tigers have moved past the issue, it is also to be seen if they can keep aside the off-field issues and perform during an all-important ODI series starting today.

    Newsvibe24 Source