New look Bangladesh will take on Zimbabwe for the first T20 game on Saturday in a bid to prove that the future of the country’s cricket will be at safe hands following the departure of the senior players.
The match starts at 5pm (Bangladesh Time) at Harare Sports Club and will be aired live at T Sports Channel.
This is the first time a Bangladeshi team was formed in this format without any of their five cricketers---Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal—termed ‘Fabulous Five’ of ‘Fab Five’.
Since their debut in the shortest format of the cricket in 2006 against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh played so far 128 matches and at least one of those five were involved in all of those matches. But the streak will be snapped when they will be out to the field for the first game of the series on Saturday.
Mashrafe retired from this format in 2017 while Tamim announced his retirement officially just before this series. Shakib Al Hasan earlier took a break while Mushfiqur Rahim and regular T20 captain Mahmudullah Riyad were given rest.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) appointed Nurul Hasan Sohan as the interim captain to lead this young, yet an experienced team in a format in which Bangladesh won 44 matches and lost 81 while the rest of three matches ended in a no result.
Under Mahmudullah’s captaincy, Bangladesh won just one game in last 13 encounters, which is why the board lost patience on him. But can Sohan lead the side to winning way?
Statistics showed that Bangladesh had the upper-hand over Zimbabwe, no matter what the format is. Still T20 cricket is the format where the Zimbabwe were able to give the Tigers some torrid times even though Bangladesh won 11 matches and lost 5 in 16 matches between the two sides. On the other hand, Bangladesh are now on a 19-match winning streak against Zimbabwe in their favoured ODI format.
However since Zimbabwe will be playing at home, they will be motivated more to win their first ever T20 series against Bangladesh. They knew it will be a tough task against a team, who also got motivated when they (Bangladesh) play against them.
“Many people are talking about experiment in this format but we are not going to do any experiment,” Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud Sujon said.
“We are yet to prove ourselves in this format. It's not basically Riyad, Mushfiqur being left out of the squad, or Shakib being left out, I think we want to see some guys. We want to play against a team which is comparatively easier. We want to get some idea about those new players. On the other hand, we already knew the capability of the senior players.”
Zimbabwe are oozing with confidence after winning the place in the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup but they will miss the services of fast bowlers Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chatara who played vital role in helping the side win the Qualifier games earlier this month.
Muzarabani sustained a tear in his thigh while Chatara suffered a collarbone fracture during the Qualifier tournament. Historically those two bowlers always get them pumped up against Bangladesh regardless of the format and while Zimbabwe condition mostly would suit the pacers, there absence is a blessing for Bangladesh team.
But no matter what the strength of Zimbabwe is. Bangladesh captain Nurul Hasan Sohan focused on to win all of the matches in this series.
“We know we have to bring our best game to beat Zimbabwe at their own soil. It is challenging but we are ready to gear up for the series,” Sohan said.
“Obviously we would like to win as many matches as we can. It would be good to win all of the matches. So we’ll take it match by match. The important thing is to have a good start to the series.”