World Cup on sight as T20Is series begins Monday

Dhaka  — After a successful ODI series win, Bangladesh are now set to face Zimbabwe in a two-match T20I series starting from Monday. Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah Riyad Bangladesh will keep an eye on World Cup combination in this series.

While the first match of the series will take place on Monday the other match will be played on Wednesday. Both the matches will start at 6pm (Bangladesh time) and will be telecast by Gtv.

Before that series, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe faced each other in 11 T20 Internationals with the Tigers winning seven of them.

“We are not too far from the T20 World Cup. I think this is the right time to look at the combination of the World Cup so that we can come up with the good team. If we can play match by match and win them it will help to boost our confidence before the World Cup,” Mahmudullah, the stand-in captain of Bangladesh, told the media on Sunday.

Despite having a good history against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh’s captain said they are going to take this series as seriously as they usually take against any opponent.

“Challenge is always here. You have to take a challenge in every game in international cricket. We have played a good brand of cricket against Zimbabwe in Test and ODIs, despite that, they are a strong team in T20Is. We have to keep our game positive to win this series,” Mahmudullah added.

Mohammad Saifuddin is set to back to T20Is cricket after a layoff of five months due to injuries. Mahmudullah said Saifuddin’s inclusion will help him to set up a good combination.

“We are very clear about our strategic plan. I have discussed it with our coach. Everyone will get freedom to play in their own position. Saifuddin backed to the T20I setup again. I think it will help us to come up with a good combination. As a pace-bowling all-rounder, he makes our job easy,” Bangladesh captain further told the media.

On the Dhaka wicket, Mahmudullah said Bangladesh can score 180 runs if they bat first. He said: “Our batsmen are enjoying a good rhythm. We will set our goal once we see the wicket. But I believe we can score 180 runs at the wickets in Dhaka.

As the format is T20 now, Zimbabwe’s captain Sean Williams believes the match can swing either way.

“I think T20 can swing either way. Two balls can change the game. We have a young team who are excited to play the shorter format in Mirpur. We are fully focused on the T20s. I haven’t mentioned ODIs to the players at all. It looks like they have clear minds in the net sessions. It is a lot better now. I think the freedom to play T20s will change things. But the basics of our game were very poor,” Williams told the media on Sunday.

Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were once the same types of teams. But since the last decade, Zimbabwe failed to improve like Bangladesh have been doing. According to Williams, the current difference between the two teams is for their difference in skillset.

“For me, it was a matter of skill. Our skill levels were down. Our basics were poor. Two new balls in either ends but no wicket in the first ten overs meant that it was extremely hard on our spinners. And then the spinners not taking wickets in the middle period made it hard for the pace bowlers in the death overs. We only got two run-outs with the new ball, so we have to improve fast,” Williams added.

Probable playing XI (Bangladesh): Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Al Amin Hossain and Aminul Islam Biplob.

Zimbabwe playing XI (Zimbabwe): Tinaseh Kamunhukamwe, Regis Chakbva, Brendan Taylor, Crag Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Carl Mumba, Donald Tiripano, Ainsley Ndlovu.UNB