There were eerie similarities between Saturday’s first ODI in Mirpur with the first game of the last year’s ODI series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
On both occasions, Bangladesh lost early wickets after being put in to bat before one of their senior batsmen revived the innings and gave them a healthy score. Shakib Al Hasan made a hundred in the corresponding match in 2014 while Mushfiqur Rahim did the same job this time. Zimbabwe later capitulated with only one of their senior batsmen (Brendan Taylor then, Elton Chigumbura now) contributing without substantial support. In both games, Shakib was outstanding with the ball.
But this time, Shakib won’t be there for the second match of the series as he is flying off to New York to be with his wife ahead of their first child’s birth. He is scheduled to leave on Sunday evening, and opening batsman Anamul Haque has been named his replacement in the squad.
If the trend from last year continues in the second ODI, Bangladesh would win it at a canter, and seal their ninth bilateral series win over Zimbabwe.
Tinashe Panyangara and Graeme Cremer bowled well in the first game without much reward. The visitors had control over the game for the first hour until Mushfiqur took charge of the Bangladesh innings. When they dismissed him and had Sabbir Rahman and Nasir Hossain in quick succession, Zimbabwe had an escape route but two good overs towards the end slammed the doors on them.
Apart from the captain Elton Chigumbura, none of the Zimbabwe batsmen managed to mix aggression and accumulation. They threw their hands at the ball, which was exactly what Shakib wanted as he eased his way to five wickets. Mashrafe Mortaza too bowled well, given his health and fitness concerns. There was a wicket for Al-Amin Hossain, who didn’t give much away on his return, while Mustafizur Rahman and Arafat Sunny picked up where they left off against South Africa.
Liton Das and Mahmudullah, however, will have to step up in the second ODI, and their contributions could make the difference between a middling 280-odd score and a safe 300-plus total, cricinfoESPN reports.