Bangladesh are determined to come up with their best performance in a bid to avoid their first ever whitewash at the hands of Zimbabwe after 21 years when they take on the host for the third and final ODI tomorrow (Wednesday) at Harare Sports Club.
The match which starts at 1.15 PM (Bangladesh Time) will be aired live on T Sports Channel.
Bangladesh lost the first two ODIs of the series by the identical five wickets margin and it raised a prospect of being swept by Zimbabwe after 2001.
No doubt Bangladesh wouldn’t like to let the thing happen to haunt them.
The Tigers earlier lost the three-match T20 series by 2-1, which was also their first ever series defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in this format.
Bangladesh were whitewashed at the hands of Zimbabwe twice in the history in ODI format, and both in 2001 during the first two meetings of the two sides. Thereafter even a full strength Zimbabwe could never sweep the series against them. Rather Bangladesh dominated Zimbabwe in a style that hardly any team could do against any particular opponent, BSS reports.
Bangladesh and Zimbabwe played 18 bilateral ODI series before the ongoing three-match series, amongst which, the Tigers won 12 and lost 6. However Zimbabwe increased the number of winning series to 7 after, clinching the current series.
Before losing this one, Bangladesh won five straight series against the African opponents and whitewashed them in all of those five series, which extended their winning streak to 19.
Zimbabwe firstly snapped the losing streak by winning the first game and then clinched the series for the first time after 2013. On both matches, Sikandar Raza stood tall, hitting two unbeaten centuries that sailed the side home in emphatic way. Innocent Kaia with 110 and captain Regis Chakabva with 102 played a second fiddle to him in those two matches to help the side beat Bangladesh. Interestingly, both Kaia and Chakabva got their maiden ODI hundred in the process.
What haunted Bangladesh most is their outdated batting and lackluster fielding. Despite knowing that the pitch was completely benign, they didn’t force the things in batting. Specially the senior players like captain Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah Riyad and Mushfiqur were mostly culpable, according to the cricket experts.
When even 330 was not safe in this pitch, Tamim and company played for just 300 on the board. The mindset damaged Bangladesh mostly. Tamim’s 62 in the first match came off 88 balls, which was a crime in this pitch and though he made 50 off 45 in the next game, he played out 34 dot balls, something that is completely unacceptable in modern cricket. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim played many dot balls initially but couldn’t push for the ultimate onslaught in the last powerplay.
When critics raised their voice high against Bangladesh’s senior players who continued to play outdated cricket even in the placid deck, head coach Russell Domingo refused to blame them.
“[Zimbabwe] were 60  for 3 and 49 for 4 [in the first and second ODIs, respectively], but the boys didn’t deal with the pressure well enough,” Domingo said.
“Too many knock-ons in the field, too many soft balls, too many balls bowled to the wrong field, wrong options taken. The boys are trying but they are not learning quickly enough. They are making those same mistakes over and over again. That’s the most disappointing thing.”
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal however emphasized on playing best cricket to have a consolation victory and avoid the whitewash.
“All credit to Zimbabwe, they were the better team this series. We have to pull up our socks. We haven’t played our best cricket and that’s why we are in this position,” Tamim said.
“We need to play our best game in the next match to win a match at least. Hopefully we will come up with our best cricket.”
Bangladesh which won 50 and lost 30 in the 80 matches against Zimbabwe however may bring up some changes to the squad to avoid the clean sweep. There is chance that Ebadot Hossain may replace fellow pacer Shoriful Islam.
Tamim Iqbal (captain), Liton Das, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Taijul Islam.
Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva (wk), Tanaka Chivanga, Craig Ervine (capt), Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Sean Williams.