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Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 1st Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 1st Test Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
Image credit: AFP

Amid a plethora of white-ball cricket, we have some Test action. Picturesque Sylhet hosts its first ever Test, but in this context, it is far from picturesque for these two sides.

Bangladesh have struggled in Test cricket in 2018, even casting doubts among management as to their commitment to the format. Zimbabwe are having a terrible time of things across formats, sitting on a 19-match losing streak, and are desperate for a change in fortune.

Who will blink first in a battle between these two sides who know each other well?

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Bangladesh’s year in Test Cricket has been horrendous, suffering three heavy losses in a row, at the hands of Sri Lanka and West Indies. These two sides, with all due respect, aren’t quite powerhouses, so assuming Bangladesh will swat Zimbabwe aside is risky. Fans will get a glimpse into life in Tests without Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, who are both recovering from injuries. With a few new faces in the side, can Bangladesh continue their dominance from the ODIs vs Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe haven’t played a Test since December, and with rain ruining their practice game in Chittagong, they are short of practice. A Test against Bangladesh in Bangladesh is a difficult time to have to find your feet, but many of the Zimbabwean players have Test experience in the country, which can be a source of hope. In addition to their current 19 match losing streak across formats, Zimbabwe are winless in 12 Tests. Can they turn things around in Sylhet?

The beautiful setting for the first Test. Image credit: Dhaka Tribune

Key to a Bangladesh win

There will be changes in personnel with the absence of Tamim and Shakib, but the template for success remains the same for Bangladesh.
Will the batsmen display the patience and temperament required in Test Cricket? Bangladesh have not passed 200 in any of their last six innings, and now is the time to rectify that. Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim will likely make up the top four, and on paper, it looks a very favourable proposition for Bangladesh. However, skipper Mahmudullah has guarded against complacency, which is something Bangladesh has struggled with in the past when favourites. The amount of hunger the Bangladesh batsmen display could ultimately determine the result.
Also, the Sylhet pitch is expected to turn, with some bounce on offer, too. Coach Steve Rhodes has spoken of his desire to see Bangladesh do well overseas, which presents an opportunity for the seamers to make a mark. But, it is likely to be the spinners to play the biggest role in this one, and how they keep the pressure on Zimbabwe will be key. If they can get the ball turning early, the straight balls become just as dangerous.

Key to a Zimbabwe win

In each of the ODIs, Zimbabwe had fantastic periods of play. In the end, though, they lost the series 3-0, a story reflective of their barren run of results since March.
They are short of practice, which is a challenge, but who will display the patience and temperament from a batting point of view? Skipper Hamilton Masakaza needs to step up after a string of 20s in recent ODIs, and with a middle order that possesses capability and experience, Zimbabwe will need to display a fine balance between technique and proactive batting to get on top of the Bangladesh spinners. The challenge, though, will be to put this to practice across two innings.
On the bowling front, the Zimbabweans are facing a side that has lacked patience in their Test assignments in 2018. Indeed, conditions will be different to what Bangladesh have encountered so far in 2018, but the Zimbabweans, led by Kyle Jarvis, would be keen on getting into the Bangladesh middle order as quickly as possible. Can they pile the pressure on Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah in the absence of Tamim and Shakib?

Possible XIs

Mohammad Mithun and Ariful Haque are in line to make their debuts. Left-arm nagin dancer Nazmul Islam is also a chance of making his debut, but Bangladesh are unlikely to play just one specialist seamer. Khaled Ahmed has been spoken of as a good option after his 10-wicket haul in FC Cricket, and could also be in line for a debut.
Bangladesh possible XI: 1. Imrul Kayes, 2. Liton Das, 3. Mominul Haque, 4. Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5. Mahmudullah (c), 6. Mohammad Mithun, 7. Ariful Haque, 8. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9. Taijul Islam, 10. Abu Jayed, 11. Mustafizur Rahman/Khaled Ahmed
Richard Ngarava, the left-arm seamer for Zimbabwe, was likely to make his Test debut, but has been replaced by Chris Mpofu after picking up a groin strain.
Zimbabwe possible XI: 1. Hamilton Masakadza (c), 2. Brian Chari, 3. Craig Ervine, 4. Brendan Taylor, 5. Sean Williams, 6. Sikandar Raza, 7. Regis Chakabva (wk), 8. Brandon Mavuta, 9. Wellington Masakadza, 10. Kyle Jarvis, 11. Chris Mpofu

Dream11

Below are the players who I think will perform best for Dream11, with a few pointers.
  • Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza are vital for Zimbabwe.
  • Mominul Haque has a superb record at home, Mushfiqur Rahim is in line for runs, and Mohammad Mithun represents good value.
  • Mehidy Hasan will be a threat, and Mahmudullah is a key batsman for Bangladesh. So too Sean Williams for Zimbabwe, coming off a century in the third ODI.
  • Taijul Islam will also get through plenty of bowling. Abu Jayed was impressive in West Indies, and Kyle Jarvis will be a threat with both new and old ball.

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Stats and Facts

  • The last time Zimbabwe visited Bangladesh for a Test series was in 2014, where Bangladesh won 3-0.
  • In that series, Shakib Al Hasan became the third cricketer in Test history to take a 10-wicket haul and score a century in the same Test.

  • Zimbabwe are winless last 12 Tests, and Bangladesh are winless in their last seven since beating Australia last year.
  • Sylhet International Stadium is set to be the eighth Test venue in Bangladesh.
  • Zimbabwe lead the head-to-head 6-5, but Bangladesh have won the last four meetings.

Prediction

Both sides have their shortcomings, but at home, expect Bangladesh to win.
Thanks for reading!
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Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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