We believe New Zealand team management understands well that Bangladesh is no longer a team to be written off straight away. That remains valid even after Bangladesh being almost blown away through the comprehensive whitewash in ODI series.
New Zealand in home condition is hot favorite but Bangladesh has potential and quality to turn out springing upsets. There are a few quality players who are more than capable of winning matches. A quick fire 50 of Tamim, a blistering innings from Shabbir or Soumya, steady batting of Mahmudullah, all round display of Shakib, usual magic of Mustafiz, inspirational leadership of Mashrafee can win one match or even the series. But for making that happen Mashrafee and Shakib must be given freedom they seemingly miss these days in matters of handling playing eleven even.
Napier is a small ground and produces lots of runs. Bangladesh may not lose heart even chasing 180 -200 as winning targets with so many quality strike makers in the team. The key would be not losing early wickets and planning the batting. Runs can be still scored playing normal cricketing scores. There must not be unusual hurries or engineer too many inventive strokes. Senior players must shoulder greater responsibilities and youngers must also play their role. In Batting Mashrafee must use his discretion for adjusting batting order as situation and circumstance arise and evolve. If there is a decent quick-fire opening stand Shabbir may be ideal number three for taking the match away. If there is early wicket loss Mahmudullah may steady the boat at number three. Shabbir, Soumya, Mosaddek and Nurul Hasan can deliver final punch after Mahmudullah and Shakib consolidating. I have a hunch that Tamim will produce an epic innings at least.
In bowling, Mustafiz magic will bring few early wickets. Rubel will add weapons to steady attack with Mashrafee. Shakib is still key in breaking the backbone of Kiwi middle order. Bangladesh must not be taken for granted. Bangladesh must not panic. Fielding must be smart and agile.
My Team would be
Tamim, Kayes, Mahmudullah, Shakib, Soumya, Shabbir, Mosaddek, Nurul Hasan, Mashrafee, Rubel, Mustafiz.
Writer: Saleque Sufi
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