Harare : Enthused by their qualification for the ICC T20 World Cup through their home qualifier, Dave Houghton’s Zimbabwe would be eyeing success in the white-ball fixtures against Bangladesh when the opening T20I of the three-match series is played here later on Saturday.
The six matches across the two white-ball formats will provide invaluable match practice to Zimbabwe with the T20 World Cup in Australia around the corner and the 50-over World Cup in India next year.
With Craig Ervine’s side having the likes of Sean Williams and Wessley Madhevere in the top order and Sikandar Raza lending solidity to the middle order, the team has got the confidence to go hard against the opponents from the sub-continent.
For Bangladesh, there are opportunities for players to make an impression for the global T20 tournament in October-November this year, with four of the most experienced players not on the trip.
While Tamim Iqbal has confirmed his T20I retirement, Shakib Al Hasan has taken a break from cricket and Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah have been rested.
Shakib looks likely to take the reins on his return in the shortest format, though Nurul Hasan is being prepared on the tour for likely captaincy roles. Munim Shahriar, Anamul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto and Parvez Hossain Emon have the chance to make an impact for batting spots in the side for the T20 World Cup.
While the three ODIs between the two countries beginning on August 5 are not part of the Super League and do not make up part of 2023 qualification, the matches should provide both teams a good indication of where they need to be at.
Zimbabwe will welcome India soon after in Super League matches, and the 12th-placed side needs a number of things to go their way to prevent featuring in a Cricket World Cup Qualifier on home soil next year.
On the other hand, Bangladesh have won 10 of their last 12 outings in ODI cricket, including a recent Super League clean sweep in the away series against the West Indies.Zimbabwe will miss the services of fast bowlers Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chatara for the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Victor Nyauchi and Tanaka Chivanga have been brought into the fold to replace the pair, with the squad outside of the two changes the same that took out T20 World Cup Qualifier B.For all of their success in ODI cricket, Bangladesh have largely failed to emulate the form in the T20I format.
Winning just one of five T20Is thus far in 2022, Bangladesh are running out of time to find the right mix, and avoid the same fate experienced in UAE and Oman.
After a first-up defeat to Scotland, Bangladesh had to qualify for the Super 12 the hard way, before a poor showing in Group A outside of one or two bright moments, according to ICC.
The series in Zimbabwe, therefore, provides a golden opportunity for the team to find rhythm ahead of the T20 World Cup in October-November.