Forewarned but still not quite forearmed | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 04, 2020

Forewarned but still not quite forearmed

Winning the ongoing three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe was obviously the top priority for Bangladesh, but the home series against a relatively weaker opposition was also a platform for the Tigers to work towards the future.

Like the think-tank's idea to form separate fast-bowling units for Tests and limited overs, there are other plans such as having a stable batting order with some big hitters down the order that are definitely on the cards for head coach Russell Domingo.

Bangladesh batting consultant Neil McKenzie on Monday told The Daily Star that he was looking for specialist batsmen at number five, six and seven, who could utilise the long handle and score quick runs in the end.

And perhaps the reason for resting seam bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin for the second ODI against Zimbabwe -- despite the cricketer showing his big-hitting ability and also scalping three wickets in the first ODI -- was to have a look at the others for the coming days.

Saifuddin filled that void with a touch of class in the first ODI, scoring 28 runs during a 15-ball cameo. The left-hander smote three sixes off the final over, bowled by Chris Mpofu, as Bangladesh capitalised on the platform set by centurion Liton Das and added 46 runs in the last four overs to post their highest-ever ODI total of 321 for six.

It was an almost identical situation yesterday, Tamim Iqbal's 12th ODI hundred giving Bangladesh the platform for a big total after they had come in to bat first.

The Tigers did end up with one more than they had in the previous game, posting 322 for eight, but someone like Saifuddin, who takes on bowlers with sheer power and clears the fences often, was desperately missed towards the end.

After Tamim's departure in the 46th over, Bangladesh were on 297 for five with Mohammad Mithun and Mehedi Hasan Miraz at the crease eyeing a score around the 350 mark.

However, that did not materialise as the hosts managed just 25 off the final four overs, with Mithun -- mainly a middle-order batsman who relies on timing rather than going after the ball -- playing against his strengths.

Although the right-hander remained unbeaten on an 18-ball 32, the absence of a hard-hitter was sorely felt.

The target may have been too much for a rather inexperienced Zimbabwean batting line-up but number eight Tinotenda Mutombodzi and especially number nine Donald Tiripano took on the attack with their big-hitting abilities and almost snatched a win out of nowhere.

Bangladesh did ultimately hang on to win a thriller by four runs and there is every chance that things will turn out differently when they face tougher opponents unless the cracks are sealed.


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