Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI 2009 Preview: 23 January 2009

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are going to face each other in the third and final match of the three-match ODI series on Friday (23 January 2009). This is an important match for both sides as it is now 1-1 in the series. That means the winning team of the match will clinch the series. So, there is no doubt that both sides will try their level best to win the match and it is expected that the match will be exciting for the cricket fans. In the first ODI Zimbabwe defeated Bangladesh in a narrow 2-wicket margin. Then Bangladesh leveled the series winning the second ODI comfortably by 6 wickets. So, both the teams are now confident enough to win the third match in what would hand them the series well. The match will take place at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka.

Match: Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, Third ODI 2009

Date: 23 January 2009, Friday

Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka

Kick off: 09:00 local time (03:00 GMT)

I already mention that this is a series deciding match and the winner of the match will win the series. So, it is expected that it will be full of excitement and cricket fans of both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will enjoy the match. Before the series got underway, Bangladesh expected to sweep the series 3-0, but unexpectedly Bangladesh lost to the visiting side in the first match and thus they threw away the chance of winning the series by 3-0 margin. No doubt, Bangladeshi fans are now quite happy with the two back-to back defeats to Zimbabwe who are struggling to survive in world cricket following a mass exodus of some of their greatest ever cricketers amid political tension in the country. Bangladesh recently defeated Sri Lanka in the tri-nation series and they went very close to win the title when they created huge pressure on the eventual champion Sri Lanka in the final match. On the other hand, Bangladesh team has already lost two matches to Zimbabwe in the recent past and this indicates that Bangladesh lacks consistency.

Lack of consistency is one of the major problems for Bangladesh cricket team. Bangladeshi players could not perform consistently in the last few matches and this is now a major headache for the host side ahead of the third ODI. However, the good news for Bangladesh team is that they defeated Zimbabwe in the second ODI pretty comfortably. Another positive side out of their recent victory is the half century of top order batsman Raqibul Hasan. For the last few series, Shakib Al Hasan has become one of the key performers of Bangladesh side. It is good to see that there are players other than Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful who are capable of leading Bangladesh towards victory.

Another important thing is that Bangladeshi batsmen failed to show enough resistance against Zimbabwean spinners. In fact, Zimbabwean spinners picked up 13 out of 20 Bangladesh wickets in their two recent victories against Zimbabwe. This proves tha Bangladeshi batsmen could not play according to their merit against Zimbabwean spinner. Bangladesh team should also worry about their bowlers who are finding too hard to keep the pressure on the lower order batsmen of opponent team, even after picking up some early wickets. For example, in the second ODI, Bangladesh picked up 6 Zimbabwean wickets in 47 runs but they failed to stop the seventh wicket partnership between Prosper Utseya and Shaun Willaims, which helped Zimbabwe get over the early setbacks and scored a somewhat descent total. So, Bangladeshi bowlers need to keep pressure on the lower order batsmen, and here, spinners have to play a big role.

Now, let us look at the Zimbabwean team. Zimbabwe also has a number of key performers who can be vital in the 3rd ODI. However, Zimbabwe also has few problems and much of their problems are in their batting. The major problem is the lack of consistency among the top order batsmen. In the series, Zimbabwean top order could not play well so far, even though they managed to win twice against Bangladesh in the recent past. So, I think this is an important aspect that Zimbabwe must worry about.

Another thing is that Zimbabwean bowlers also need to show a killer instinct. Their main bowling strength is their two spin bowlers: Raymond Price and Prosper Utseya. Raymond Price picked up four wickets in the first ODI, followed by a good performance in the second ODI. Price picked up one wicket in the second ODI in his allotted 10 overs. Prosper Utseya also bowled very well in both the matches and his batting in the lower order has also become an added advantage for the Zimbabwean team. Zimbabwe has a number of quality batsmen in the top order like Hamilton Masakadza, wicket keeper Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri and Shaun Williams. However, the important thing is that most of their top order batsmen are currently out of form. That is why, Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya asked for a better performance from his teammates in the third match of the series.

Before the start of the three match series, Bangladeshi captain Mohammad Ashraful said they were looking to white wash the visitors. However, they have already lost one match in the ODI series. Now, they have to win the third match in order to ensure the series victory. Bangladesh also has a number of good batsmen like Tamim Iqbal, Mehrab Hossain Jnr, Mohammad Ashraful, Raqibul Hasan and Shakib Al Hasan. In the lower middle order Mushfiqur Rahim, Naeem Islam and Mashrafe Mortaza are also looking very good. Mehrab Hossian Jnr came into the first eleven of the second match and played an important inning of 43 runs guiding Bangladesh to reach the winning target of 161 runs. Roqibul Hasan’s half century was a positive side for Bangladesh team. Shakib Al Hasan has already become one of the leading all rounder in world cricket in recent time. Mushfiqur Rahim is always good when it comes to play under pressure.

Mohammad Ashraful could not play well in the first two matches. But he is confident that he would come back with a big score in the 3rd ODI. Tamim Iqbal is another batsman who is currently out of form as he scored only 74 runs in the last 5 innings.

I think the current Zimbabwean team has improved a lot over the last couple of years. Even though there are many who think Zimbabwean team is yet to become a team that were 6 to 7 year back when players like Andy Flower, Grand Flower played together. However, you have to admit that the team touring Bangladesh now is far better a team compared to the team it was two years back. Zimbabwe team has grown as a team because a number of cricketers like Tatenda Taibu, Prosper Utseya, Shaun Williams, Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri have been playing together for the last couple of years and that is why, Zimbabwean team seems matured and more experienced now. In fact, if you look at Zimbabwe’s last home series against Sri Lanka, then you can see that Zimbabwe has improved a lot and they are capable of causing upset against test playing countries.

For Bangladesh, this is a match which they should win because their recent performance has put their test status in question. Recently, ICC chief also voiced his concern against Bangladesh’s test status. Overall Bangladesh needs to show that they are not anymore a weakest team among the test playing nations. I think, Bangladesh should become desperate to perform consistently. Series victory against Zimbabwe would not prove Bangladesh as a striking force in world cricket, but the series victory would ensure that they are still a better side than fellow test playing country Zimbabwe. That is very important for Bangladesh team at this moment.

Online Live Score and Updates

Here, I am giving some names of live score and update websites from where you can get live score and updates of the match:

Cricinfo
Cricketnext
Cricket.sulekha
stickcricket
cricpoint
indvsauslivescore
cricbuzz
squidoo
Sify
cricketworld

Bangladesh seems to be favorite against Zimbabwe for the third ODI, but Zimbabwe also has a very good chance in the match if their players can play according to their merit, skill and talent in all departments. Bangladesh team will be under pressure because losing the series will be considered to be a humiliating performance for Bangladesh, while Zimbabwe has nothing to lose in the match as they already defeated host Bangladesh twice in their current tour. I hope to see a highly fought, exciting match.

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