Mashrafe Bin Mortaza will return to action today after serving a one-match ban and the Bangladesh ODI skipper will certainly be hoping that his top-order batsmen show a resilient approach when they take on New Zealand in their second match of the tri-series at the Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin today.
The Tigers skipper will also seek some solace as he had a bitter experience during the last visit to New Zealand in December-January as the Tigers not only lost all the matches but the captain also suffered an injury that kept him out of action for three months.
Bangladesh's first match against hosts Ireland was abandoned due to rain but there was cause of concern for the Tigers during the 31 overs that were played as they had suffered a batting hiccup due to poor application from the top order batsmen on a green-top, before Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad salvaged the situation.
Mashrafe however highlighted the recovery acts of Tamim and Mahmudullah while talking about the second match after yesterday's practice session.
“After the early wickets, the way Tamim and Riyad [Mahmudullah] batted, they showed their experience. This is the reality, two or three wickets can fall early but it is important to come back from that. We are expecting that the wicket will be similar; on such wickets if you get set then 270-300 is possible. We have not yet seen how similar this wicket is to the earlier one,” said Mashrafe, who missed the first match as a one-match ban was imposed on him for a slow over-rate in the last ODI in Sri Lanka.
New Zealand will be missing some of their key players, but the Bangladesh captain was not taking anything for granted.
“The first target whenever we take the field is that we want to win the match. New Zealand are of course a very good team. In the rankings they are well placed. Even though they do not have some of their top players but if you see, many of the players from the last series we played against them are here,” said Mashrafe, adding that they tried their best to be as prepared as possible despite the facilities not being up to the mark.
“I believe and my team believes that we can win against New Zealand. Those who are good are good in any condition. Of course the conditions matter, but we believe in our ability and the bowlers and top-order batsmen that we have, if they keep faith in their skills, then something good can happen hopefully,” he added.
Bangladesh practised yesterday in sunshine but Mashrafe was not sure what will happen today.
“The days we have spent practising here, the weather has been unpredictable -- sometimes it is windy, sometimes it is sunny and suddenly it starts raining. So we have to adjust and play in these conditions. Hopefully it won't be like this in England, but we have three matches left to play here, so we have to mentally adjust to that,” said Mashrafe.
Bangladesh played the first international at the venue in 1999 in the World Cup match against West Indies, which they lost by seven wickets.
The Bangladesh captain hoped that rain will not play foul again as they were looking to play matches ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
“It is important to play matches for Champions Trophy preparations. We had hoped that we would get conditions similar to England, but that has not happened. In the first match it was a very grassy wicket; maybe that won't be the case [in today's game]. Maybe even if there is grass on the wicket, it will become flat after the early movement. But still, I think the wickets are different from those in England.”
There may be one change from the last team as Rubel Hossain or Taskin Ahmed may make way for Mashrafe's return.