The inevitable shadow of Mashrafe Mortaza looms over this
clash, despite Bangladesh making a stellar statement in the first ODI. That is
down to the captain’s hurt comments after being prodded on about his looming
retirement and bowling returns. “Do I steal on the field. Am I a
thief?” Mortaza retorted when asked if his ego had been dented with low
returns recently, and following the BCB president’s statement that the Zimbabwe
series could be Mortaza’s last.
Mortaza then went on to perform commendably in the first ODI
against Zimbabwe. He returned a fine 2/35 and took a catch to dismiss the high-flying
Wesley Madhevere, in what can be seen to have been a statement performance. However,
the questions over his future will not go away, and it’ll continue to loom
large ahead of perhaps his penultimate ODI ever.
As for matters on the field, Bangladesh don’t have much to
worry about. Their stunning victory by a record 169 runs drove home the point
that they are a fine side at home, and Liton Das for one will be itching to get
back on the field and continue batting, having scored a fine 105-ball 126 in
that match. Bangladesh posted a mammoth 321/6, and then proceeded to bundle out
Zimbabwe for less than half that total – 152.
The onus is on Zimbabwe now to put up a better performance. They
will perhaps be able to do that if Craig Ervine, who missed the first match
with flu, and Sean Williams, who didn’t reach Sylhet in time for the match
having gone home to attend the birth of his child, make the XI, as they are
Head to head
Bangladesh have the upper hand in this rivalry. There have
been 73 clashes, going back to 1997, between these sides. Zimbabwe have won 28
of those matches, with Bangladesh winning 45. The last time Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh
in an ODI was in 2013 in Bulawayo – since then, they have lost 14 matches in a
Liton Das (Bangladesh): Das was beaming as he scored
a century in the first ODI, and he looked in great touch. He will once again be
a key figure as Bangladesh look to make it 2-0 and close out the series.
Sean Williams (Zimbabwe): The return of Williams,
Zimbabwe hope, will be able to spark some form for a side in which the senior
names have failed to provide that impetus this series. Zimbabwe desperately need
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Najmul Hossain
Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Saifuddin,
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman
Zimbabwe: Chamu Chibhabha (c), Craig Ervine, Wesley
Madhevere, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Tinotenda Mutombodzi,
Donald Tiripano, Ainsley Ndlovu, Chris Mpofu, Carl Mumba
Bangladesh to win comfortable and sweep the series.