Bangladesh have never lost to New Zealand in ODIs at home since 2010 while New Zealand have never lost to Bangladesh at their backyard. In their previous ODI, at a neutral venue in Cardiff in 2017, Bangladesh stunned New Zealand with an epic come-from-behind win.
Ahead of the ODI series opener in Napier, many felt that this was Bangladesh’s best chance to win games in New Zealand. However, Shakib Al Hasan’s injury has created a gaping hole in the line-up.
But nonetheless, it promises to be an exciting contest. New Zealand themselves have a few holes to plug after their 4-1 series defeat against India. The only game they won was when they bowled out India for 92 in Hamilton, but in the other four games they couldn’t sustain the pressure for longer periods.
Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Tom Latham were among the runs while Trent Boult and Matt Henry had one good outing each during the ODI series against India. The home side will also be buoyed by the 2-1 T20I series win over them.
Tim Southee hasn’t found much swing in white-ball cricket, but New Zealand can fall back on the extra pace of Lockie Ferguson. How Bangladesh tackle New Zealand’s pace attack could have a big say in which way the series swings. If Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das can complement Tamim Iqbal, it will ease the pressure on Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in the middle overs. Can Sabbir Rahman then fulfill his potential and finish the innings?
Bangladesh pace attack, too, will have to step up. Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin will all have to play key roles, particularly in the slog overs. In the absence of Shakib, there is extra pressure on the inexperienced spinners Mehidy Hasan and Nayeem Hasan.
New Zealand: LWLLL (Last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Matt Henry‘s four-wicket haul in the last ODI against India could help him retain his spot for the series opener against Bangladesh, who haven’t been comfortable against rapid pace away from home.
Soumya Sarkar‘s unbeaten 80 against West Indies, in Bangladesh’s last ODI in Sylhet, ensured that they won the series in style. Now, he has to adapt to quite different conditions as he looks to put behind a tough BPL campaign
Martin Guptill is fit again, and is set to open with Henry Nicholls. Colin Munro has been left out of the squad for the first two matches.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Henry Nicholls, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wk), 6 James Neesham, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Todd Astle, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult
Bangladesh may be tempted to bring in Mohammad Saifuddin instead of Rubel Hossain, particularly in Shakib’s absence.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Liton Das, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Mohammad Mithun, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Pitch and conditions
The home side will be wary of the Napier pitch, having been bowled out for 157 by India, in the previous game here last month. Weather-wise, it is likely to be a pleasant day in McLean Park.
Stats and Trivia
- Bangladesh have lost both their previous ODIs in Napier, by big margins, during the 2007 and 2010 tours.
- Ross Taylor is 109 runs short of becoming the second New Zealander to 8,000 ODI runs.
“We know it is going to be difficult in New Zealand but we like being the underdog. I think New Zealand know they have to play very good cricket to beat us.”
Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes
“Bangladesh are a quality side and they showed it in the Champions Trophy when they beat us in that last game.”
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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