With cricket world busy watching Indian Premier League, Bangladesh landed in Zimbabwe for a full fledged bilateral series hoping to dispatch the hosts' challenge but they were greeted by a resilient Zimbabwe who did well to draw the Tests series 1-1 and went on to win the ODI series 2-1.
Two T20 International fixtures are left, and the Bengal tigers would be looking to end their disappointing tour on a high whereas an upbeat Zimbabwe will gearing up for another upset. With Mushfiqur Rahim already announcing that he would be stepping down as the captain after the tour, Bangladesh would be hoping to regroup as a team in the first of the two T20Is to be played at Bulawayo on Saturday.
After a buoyant ODI series victory, the hosts would not be mere pushovers in the shortest format of the game and they would aim to end their 16-match losing streak in T20Is. Bangladesh too have not enjoyed this format much with victories coming only against associate countries like Netherlands and Scotland in the last two years.
Vusi Sibanda's impressive show in the third ODI and Seam Williams confident approach in the middle, which earned him two fifties in the ODI series, are the biggest plus for Zimbabwe whereas Bangladesh will be looking towards Nasir Hossian and Mahmudullah for some inspiration. The openers, Tamim Iqbal and Mohammed Ashraful got starts in ODI but failed to convert into something big which they would be eying to rectify on the T20s.
In the bowling department, Zimbabwe have been better side with Shingi Maskadza and Tendai Chatara doing a credible job with the new ball. For Bangladesh, Ziaur Rahman looked good swinging the ball both ways and taking a five-wicket haul in the third ODI.
In the only T20 played between the two teams at Khulna in 2006, Bangladesh had prevailed by 43 runs but stats stand for nothing as Zimbabwe would in all likelihood put up a strong show against a rattled Bangladesh outfit.
Zimbabwe: Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (captain/wk), Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Kyle Jarvis, Shingi Masakadza, Tendai Chatara.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Jahurul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim (captain/wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain , Mahmudullah, , Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Robiul Islam, Shafiul Islam.