Having served out a one-match ban for over-rate infringements, Mashrafe Mortaza will be back to lead Bangladesh against New Zealand on Wednesday (May 16), in its second game of the One-Day International tri-series in Ireland.
Bangladesh’s opening game, against Ireland, was washed out just when it seemed to get a grasp of relatively unfamiliar conditions. Shakib Al Hasan, captain for that game, conceded that it wasn’t easy for the sub-continental side early on, because of which it slipped to 70 for 4 inside 15 overs.
Tamim Iqbal, the opener, however stood out with an unbeaten half-century, offering up a lesson for the rest of the side in his application.
Unlike Bangladesh, New Zealand goes into the contest at the Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin with the confidence of a win and the comfort of a full day’s play behind it.
Despite having 10 of its first-choice players away in the IPL, Tom Latham, the captain for the series, was a happy man after the 51-run win over Ireland.
Mitchell Santner, the left-arm spinner, took a career best 5 for 50, Neil Broom made 79 and Scott Kuggeleijn took three wickets on ODI debut to ensure Niall O’Brien’s maiden ODI ton wasn’t in a winning cause. George Worker and Ross Taylor also chipped in with fifties as New Zealand posted a strong 289 for 7.
In the lead-up to its first ICC Champions Trophy appearance since 2006, Bangladesh is taking the tri-series challenge seriously. Despite facing a depleted New Zealand side, its struggles against the same team last year are all too fresh.
Broom was one of those who did well back then as well, and it will be interesting to see what kind of questions the exciting young duo of Mehedi Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman, along with veterans like Mortaza, will ask of New Zealand.
“We played them a few months back. It wasn’t a good memory as we didn’t too well in New Zealand,” admitted Shakib, “but these are different conditions, a different scenario and we are hoping to do well.”
The wariness was mutual. Said Latham: “We played Bangladesh not so long ago, we know how strong they can be and we’ll see what conditions are like. It’ll be interesting to see what the wicket is like and we’ll adapt our plans accordingly.”
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mehedi Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Subashis Roy, Sunzamul Islam, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed
New Zealand: Tom Latham (capt), Luke Ronchi (wk), George Worker, Ross Taylor, Neil Broom, Henry Nicholls, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Scott Kuggeleijn, Neil Wagner, Seth Rance, Hamish Bennett, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne.
(International Cricket Council)