Bangladesh will be facing Zimbabwe in the first T20 of the two-match series at the Sher-e-Bangla International Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka on Friday.
Having won the ODI series already, the hosts will be looking forward to maintain their dominance on the home soil against the hapless Zimbabwe.
Surprisingly, both the teams are equally inexperienced in the shortest format of the international game. Believe it or not, Ireland have played more T20 international matches than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Both the sides were dependant on the World T20 tournaments to get used to the format. But this twoâ€“match T20 series will be a platform to gear up for the upcoming ICC World T20 2016 which will be held in India.
"Our first target would be to find our best combination. We wouldn't' have many chances later on to do so. Winning is important, but not as much as finding our combination. If we had Shakib around, we could have played Sabbir up the order but nowadays you need a good hitter at No. 6, who can win you games when you need 40 off 20 or 30 balls. We have asked all 14 players to be prepared for a place in the XI," Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said.
Zimbabwe will be looking bounce back in the T20 series after they were handed a drubbing in all the three ODIs by Bangladesh. Their top-order, lower-order and the tail have failed to withstand the pressure exerted by the Bangladeshi bowlers. Skipper Elton Chigumbura has been in good form with the bat in the middle-order but cricket is a team game. One simply cannot depend on one or two batsmen in the entire lineup. The others will also have to step up to the occasion.
"Every international game is important. T20 is a format where everyone can express themselves. We have to execute well and hopefully have one in the bag, especially in the first one," Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura told the reporters ahead of the first T20 match.
The visitors will also have to find a way to tackle the cutters of Mustafizur Rahman or else he will haunt them during the T20 series as well. The spinners have also done a terrific job in the absence of Shakib-Al Hasan. Nasir Hossain, Al Amin Hossain and Arafat Sunny have ably backed the seamers whenever the situation demanded.
The wicket is likely to assist the spinners as it will slow down as the game progresses. Zimbabwe spinners Graeme Cremer and Sikander Raza will have to be right on the money in order to outclass the Bangladeshi batsmen.
The absence of Bangladeshi opening batsman Soumya Sarkar was well covered up by Imrul Kayes who has been in good shape and form with the willow right at the top of the order. Mushfiqur Rahim can be a lethal weapon for the hosts in the middle-order and has the capability of turning the tides.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Imrul Kayes, Jubair Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Anamul Haque, Tamim Iqbal.
Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (C), Regis Chakabva (wk), Chamu Chibhabha, Tendai Chisoro, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva, Wellington Masakadza, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Taurai Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.
Where to watch live:
The 1st T20 between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe is scheduled for a 4:30 pm local time (5:00 pm IST, 11:30 am GMT & 1:30 pm Zimbabwe Time) start. There will be no live coverage of the game in India and the live streaming option is also not available.
Viewers in Bangladesh can watch the 1st T20 live on Gazi TV.
Audience watching the game in the US can catch the action live on Willow TV, while Willow TV Online will provide the live stream option.
Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa will be able to watch Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe live on OSN Sports 4 and HD 4, while the match can be live streamed on OSN Play.
Folks in Zimbabwe can also catch the live action of the 1st T20 between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe on Ten Sports.