A fighting Asia Cup must have boosted the confidence of this Bangladesh team, but they are not without their problems. Their prime opener Tamim Iqbal and one of world’s best all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will sit out injured. Bangladesh have included uncapped Fazle Mahmud, an exciting left-hand batsman, and Mohammad Saifuddin, a seamer, in the team to replace the injured.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza and the key fast bowler Mustafizur Rehman are injured as well but they should recover before the start of the match and have declared themselves available.In the absence of Soumya Sarkar and Mominul Haque, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim would be Bangladesh’s key batsmen. Fazle Mahmud is an exciting talent to look forward to.
But what recent history has shown is that Bangladesh can push almost anyone especially in the subcontinent. The absence of a few key players gives them an opportunity test out a few fringe players and have them ready for the World Cup 2019.
Zimbabwe will come into this match having lost all 10 previous ODI matches which include a heartbreaking 3 run loss to UAE at home that put them out of the upcoming World Cup 2019.
Comprehensive defeats against Pakistan - 0-4 at home - and against South Africa - 0-3 away from home - must have blunted the confidence of the team.
Things look even bleaker for Zimbabwe considering their weakness against spin that allowed Imran Tahir to run through their batting lineup in the recently concluded South Africa tour. And the fact that only Sean Williams could score a half century, speaks of the batting hole they found themselves in right now.
The newcomer Brandon Mavuta, the leg spinner, will be a key player for Zimbabwe. He was the only one who could make an effect in SA. Fast bowler Blessing Muzarbani is an exciting talent as well.
Hamilton Masakazda’s form is a concern. He along with Sean Williams and Brandon Taylor would be looking to form the core of Zimbabwean batting.
The pitch at Shere Bangla Stadium offers some helps to seamers initially. The conditions ease out as the day progresses. Spinners will come into the play in the later stages. This is the start of the winter, so the dew should not be a problem just yet. But teams should take that into consideration nonetheless.
The team winning the toss would want to bat first here despite early assistance to seamers. Bangladesh have won 9 of their 14 day-night matches winning the toss and batting first at Dhaka. The help that spinners get at later stages can be utilized to put the brakes on the scoring and make inroads while defending.
Zimbabwe should look to take advantage of a bit of inexperience in Bangladesh team because of the injuries to the first choice players. However, looking at the conditions, history and the recent form, Bangladesh looks set to win the first match to start their campaign against Zimbabwe at Dhaka on 21st October.
Our Prediction is that Bangladesh to win the 1st ODI against Zimbabwe.