ODI skipper Mashrafe bin Mortaza returns to the side after serving a one-match ban when Bangladesh take on New Zealand in their second game of the tri-nation series at Malahide in Dublin, Ireland on Wednesday. The match begins at 3:45pm and BTV, GTV and Maasranga TV will telecast it live.
The Tigers' first match against host Ireland was washed out on Friday. And against the Kiwis, Mashrafe and his troop will need to be on their guard as the Black Caps thrashed them 3-0 in a three-ODI series earlier this year.
Batting collapse has been an area of concern for the Tigers for some time now and it reared its ugly head again against the Irish in the first game. However, opening batsman Tamim Iqbal and all-rounder Mahmudullah came to the rescue before rain stopped play.
The pitch, covered with grass, is at the centre of all discussions in the Bangladesh camp and according to Mashrafe, his side are trying to adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible.
“Obviously, whenever we go out, our first aim is to win the match. Despite the conditions and facilities not being up to the mark, we tried to overcome those and prepare ourselves,” Mashrafe told the media on Tuesday.
“After losing a few early wickets, Tamim and Riyad (Mahmudullah) batted well to overcome the situation, displaying their experience. I think that’s the reality in such conditions. You have to bounce back despite losing early wickets.
“We are expecting same type of pitch. And in these wickets, even if we lose wickets, it’s still possible to score 270-300 runs. We are yet to see the pitch. It depends on how it behaves from the previous match. We are focused to do well,” he said.
Putting aside the weather aspect, the Tigers will also be mindful of their sorry record against the Kiwis away from home or in neutral venues. In 15 meetings away from home and in neutral venues, the men in red and green are yet to beat the Kiwis.
And despite the absence of senior members like Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Tim Southee in the New Zealand side, Mashrafe is not taking the Kiwis lightly.
“New Zealand are a professional side. They are also ranked higher in the ICC ranking. Although they don’t have a few top grade cricketers in the side, still, if you see, there are many of them who played against us in the last series,” he said.
Mashrafe continued, “So far, what we have witnessed is that the weather is quite unpredictable as suddenly it starts to rain amid heavy winds. And suddenly, there is sunshine. We have to adjust to such condition and I hope there won’t be similar weather in England. Still, we have three games left in Ireland and we will try to adjust to the condition.
“We are mentally prepared. Obviously it’s important for us to play well and as I said, we expected the conditions here to be similar to England. But that’s not exactly what has happened. In the first match, it was a grassy pitch. However, the batsmen can score after the early movement from the wicket. Still, I think the pitch is quite different compared to England.”
There won’t be much changes in the Bangladesh playing XI with only pacer Rubel Hossain making way for Mashrafe.
On the other hand, Tom Latham’s New Zealand registered a rather comfortable 51-run win over Ireland in their first match. Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner bagged his maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs on Sunday and the Tigers will need to be wary of him.