Harare, Aug 12: Two of the littlest Test teams have seen a lot of each other in the one-day arena in recent times. In the last two years, Bangladesh has clashed with Zimbabwe in three 5-match series. And although the former has emerged victorious in each of the engagements, this time the contest seems likely to be less one-sided.
After all, Zimbabwe is fresh from a comfortable victory against the same opponents in the former's historic return to the five-day format. The batting was inspired and substantial, the bowling was incisive and consistent. Zimbabwe however hasn't played a one-dayer since the World Cup, where their lone win came against a beleaguered Kenyan side.
Meanwhile, though Bangladesh recorded surprise victories against Ireland, England and the Netherlands in the big tournament they were subjected to a derriere-thrashing in the subsequent hosting series against Australia.
While the Zimbabwe batting promises to throw up a good show, especially from the likes of Test centurions Hamilton Masakadza and captain Brendan Taylor, the key man for the African side will be fast bowler Chris Mpofu. Though he was whip-lashed by South Africa last year, his game has grown by leaps and bounds as he has endeavoured to broaden his armoury. With 61 wickets from 53 matches at a so-so average of 35.39, Mpofu also brags a best of 6/52, which attests to his latent potency.
Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi to watch out for is opener Tamim Iqbal. After a fairly successful round during the World Cup earlier this year, he has slipped into the shadows. His dismal performance against the touring Australia side in April carried through to the Test against Zimbabwe where he underperformed. Now is the time to make amends as he takes guard in his favourite format.