If fit, Mustafizur Rahman and Liton Das could come back to the visitors’ playing XI for the decider
It is rather apt that a series that has had almost every shade of drama possible, including a touch of the inexplicable when, in Friday’s game, there was the hit-wicket-that-wasn’t, should have a finale of some sort. That is what we have now, after Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by 23 runs in the second of three T20Is to set things up nicely for the final fixture.
Zimbabwe have pushed Bangladesh hard all along. They have squandered strong positions on three occasions after their bowlers had given them a chance, they have thrice suffered batting collapses, and they failed to defend 298 in the last of the three ODIs. All of those have proved that Bangladesh are the superior side on the whole, but they faltered on Friday, losing it on the fielding stakes. They let go two catches and had another catch fall between two fielders, while Zimbabwe defended 166 by holding on to all their nine chances.
Those performances, plus the fact that Bangladesh do have Shakib and Mahmudullah in their midst, make them favourites to leave Zimbabwe with all three trophies – after winning the one-off Test and sweeping the three-ODI series.
(last five completed matches)
In the spotlight
Wessley Madhevere played a match-winning innings in the second T20I, with his 73 setting Zimbabwe on the path to a competitive total. He had nearly won them the second ODI last week when he made a fifty, took a wicket and a good catch, and Zimbabwe would be hoping for another all-round effort from him in the deciding game.
Shoriful Islam has so far taken five wickets in two T20Is, to complement the four-wicket haul in the second ODI. Islam has used the back-of-the-hand slower delivery to good effect, and could be the perfect foil for Rahman, if both left-arm quicks play together in the last game.
Barring any injuries, Zimbabwe are unlikely to change their playing XI.
Zimbabwe (probable): 1 Regis Chakabva (wk), 2 Tadiwanashe Marumani, 3 Wessley Madhevere, 4 Dion Myers, 5 Sikandar Raza (capt), 6 Milton Shumba, 7 Ryan Burl, 8 Donald Tiripano, 9 Luke Jongwe, 10 Blessing Muzarabani, 11 Tendai Chatara
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Soumya Sarkar, 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahmudullah (capt), 5 Nurul Hasan (wk), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Mahedi Hasan, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Shoriful Islam
Pitch and conditions
There have been no demons in the pitch. The breeze is known to trouble the bails around these parts, and the day is expected to be dry.
Stats and trivia
Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza, when asked about the importance of the third T20I
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84