Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and his troops must defy tall odds, and defeat the battle hardened South African team at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong for a rare shot at cricketing glory .
After losing the first match, Bangladesh never won a series against a team ranked in the top eight. South Africa never lost a series against Bangladesh. The third match in the series may change all that, hopefully in Tigers’ favour.
South Africa are not throwing the towel yet, although the seven-wicket thrashing in the second match was a rude awakening to the realities of difficult conditions away from home.
Proteas captain Hashim Amla will go hard at Bangladesh with battery of fast bowlers, with Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott and Chris Morris in the line-up while Imran Tahir and JP Duminy make full use of the spinning track in Chittagong.
The visitors are fully aware to the situation, and understand what’s at stake in the game to decide the ODI series. They have the experience and expertise to bounce back, and therefore, Tigers cannot take anything for granted.
For Bangladesh, the last match in the series gives a huge opportunity to rewrite history with a memorable win, but more importantly, to go into the game with the right frame of mind…doing the basics right without fail.
Bangladesh’s ace allrounder Shakib Al Hasan appreciates the gravity of the game on Wednesday, July 15, and aspires to achieve something really big at Chittagong.
"We haven't lost [a series] at home for a long time and this will be an opportunity for us. I can't tell you how big this match is, but I can surely say that this is a very big opportunity for us," Shakib told The Daily Star.
Shakib Al Hasan played his part in the fantastic bowling performance by Bangladesh on Sunday, and hopes to perform in the third match and beat South Africa for the first time in an ODI series.
Under Mashrafe’s captaincy, Bangladesh have enjoyed a great run from October 2014, whitewashing Zimbabwe, Pakistan and a historic series win over India after a successful ICC Cricket World Cup down under.
Mashrafe has led the Tigers in nineteen matches, coming out on top on 14 occasions in his career so far. He is focused at the task at hand, wants to play his best cricket and execute the plans properly once again.
He would certainly want his top allrounder Shakib to add to his tally of 27 wickets, highest at Chittagong, and probably more urgently, Tamim Iqbal to start firing again.
Tamim is the highest run-getter at Chittagong. He would do his team a world of good if he can keep his cool and play a descent innings, without throwing his wicket away recklessly.
Bangladesh supporters hope the home team will perform to their potential, and unite the country in a bundle of joy.
Good Luck Tigers!