Before the series opener at Sylhet, Bangladesh had lost eight of their last 12 ODIs and their last match in this format was back in July 2019. So when they came back to the 50-over format against Zimbabwe on home soil, they needed a win just to reassure them that they had not yet fallen from grace.
The hosts got exactly what they needed, a thumping victory. They beat Zimbabwe by 169 runs in the first ODI, which was their biggest win in history by runs. Liton Das struck a ton and Mohammad Saifuddin made a glorious return with a fine cameo and a brilliant bowling spell.
The skipper, Mashrafe Mortaza, whose retirement has been the talk of the town in recent times, also picked up a couple of wickets on his return to the side.
Bangladesh took a lot of positives from the first game and will look forward to sealing the series in the second match. On the other hand, Zimbabwe were completely battered and need to do come up with something new. They have their regular skipper Sean Williams back and he will hope to motivate the visitors towards victory.
Bangladesh hope to keep the momentum
Bangladesh outplayed Zimbabwe in every department in the first ODI. In such turbulent times and with an ODI against Pakistan looming, they got a great boost of confidence with that win.
The Bangladesh batting looked in fine touch as Liton picked up his second ODI ton. Mohammad Mithun also scored a fifty and other batsmen also played vital roles, especially Saifuddin. The 23-year old all-rounder's cameo took Bangladesh to a cliff which proved to be impossible to climb for the visitors.
Bowling Zimbabwe out for 152 and wickets for everyone made it a successful day for everyone. Bangladesh will hope that this continues as they need a clean-sweep to go to Pakistan with confidence.
Neil McKenzie, Bangladesh's batting consultant, said that this team is hungry for success and no team can be taken lightly in international cricket.
"You have to look for the badge or country you are playing for. Whether it is Zimbabwe or Australia, it is international cricket. These guys are hungry to do well for Bangladesh. You can only play against the opponent in front of you. There's no opponent you can take lightly." McKenzie said.
Zimbabwe look to turn tides
Zimbabwe were outplayed on Sunday and will hope that they have a change in fortune on the second match.
They have their skipper, Sean Williams, back for the last two matches and his return might be crucial considering Zimbabwe's batting was in shambles in the first match. They had only one 30+ innings in the first ODI.
Their bowling had been a tad better than their batting. But still, it was not really challenging for the Bangladeshi batsmen and the lax fielding did not help either.
Williams hoped that he can bring in some energy to the team and added that Craig Ervine, who was out of the first ODI due to respiratory problems, will likely play in the next.
"I think being 1-0 down is mentally tough for the guys. Moving forward, having a plan tomorrow would be key. Hopefully, I can bring a bit of energy and calmness. Craig Ervine is getting there too, so he will be ready to play. Guys like Brendan and Raza play a massive role in our team. Having them firing is going to be extremely important for us," added the Zimbabwean skipper.
Bangladesh are likely to go with their winning combination and not bring in any changes. Liton was a doubt after he left the first match with cramp but he fielded in the first and should play.
Bangladesh Possible XI: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza ©, Mustafizur Rahman
Zimbabwe will surely have two changes as Williams and Ervine will come into their side. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Richmond Mutumbami likely to drop out.
Zimbabwe Possible XI: Chamu Chibhabha, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams ©, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Wesley Madhevere, Chris Mpofu, Carl Mumba