Like the whole world, the sporting arena has also taken a hit by the recent Coronavirus outbreak. Serie A has been postponed, Champions League matches are set to be held behind closed doors. Things are the same in Bangladesh too. After three Coronavirus cases were detected in Bangladesh, the country has shifted into a frenzy. Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) were planning to celebrate the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 100th birthday with a couple of T20 matches between Asia XI and World XI. But amidst the recent crisis, those matches are under a shade of doubt and might be postponed.
But Zimbabwe skipper Sean Williams seemed unfazed about the situation when he was asked about the situation in the post-match press conference of the first T20I.
"Nothing concerns us at all. We are just concerned about winning a game of cricket. That's our main focus right now," Williams said.
Well, his answer sort of makes it easier to understand Zimbabwe's situation in this tour. They have been battered so bad across all three formats that, they crave a win more than anything, even more than being concerned about an epidemic.
And as the last match of the tour has arrived, they only want a win. Something to take back. But the hosts, who are boosted with newfound confidence following their dominating victories in the series, will try to complete the clean-sweep across the formats.
Bangladesh's sweet dilemma at the top
Soumya Sarkar was forced to play down the order in the Pakistan series. And expectedly, a batsman who had played in the top-order for all his life, his performances were under-par.
But as soon as he returned to the top-order in the first T2oI against Zimbabwe, he hit a blistering unbeaten 62 off 32 deliveries. It was his knock which helped Bangladesh pile up a massive total and to come out as eventual winners.
Soumya's knock means Bangladesh now have a pool of in-form players to choose from at the top. Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das are automatic choices with their recent form. Then comes Soumya with his form and Naim Sheikh is on the bench with some runs in the bag too. Afif Hossain also prefers to play at no. 3 and others like Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Imrul Kayes are just waiting in the line for an opportunity.
It is likely that all of Tamim, Liton and Soumya will retain their place in the second match. But still, Bangladesh team management would want that everybody is ready to have a go at the top as the World T20 is knocking at the door.
Zimbabwe's top-order struggling big time
When Bangladesh are in a puzzle to pick from their in-form top-order batsmen, Zimbabwe's top-order batsmen are finding it very tough to get going.
They struggled throughout the tour and the first T20I was not anything different. The only match in which they came close was the second ODI and that too was courtesy of some late-order hitting.
One of their mainstays, Brendan Taylor has failed to do absolutely anything. There were bits and pieces from some batsmen but nothing consistent, and that has been the reason behind their humiliation in the series.
Their skipper Williams was though confident of their top-order and said that once Taylor clicked, he would bring him hundreds.
"Brendan, he is not going well on this tour, but I know once Brendan clicks, he is going to give me hundreds. That is going to be a big thing for us," Williams said.
With an unassailable lead of 1-0, Bangladesh might look forward to twitching their eleven. Young fast bowler Hasan Mahmud might make his debut and so might left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed. Changes in the batting order are highly unlikely as the batsmen are in fine form.
Bangladesh Possible XI: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad (c), Afif Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mahedi Hasan/Nasum Ahmed, Aminul Islam Biplob, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam/Hasan Mahmud
Zimbabwe might bring in Charlton Tshuma in an attempt to fix their out of sorts bowling. Also, wicket-keeper batsman Regis Chakabva might get the nod for some runs up top.
Zimbabwe Possible XI: Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams (c), Sikandar Raza, Wesley Madhevere, Richmond Mutumbami/Regis Chakabva (wk), Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Chris Mpofu/Charlton Tshuma, Carl Mumba