After a demoralising series defeat in their own backyard, New Zealand will look to resurrect their World Cup preparations when they kick-start the three match ODI series against Bangladesh on Wednesday at Napier.
New Zealand have a lot to play for. This will be their last limited overs assignment before they embark on their World Cup campaign. They have very little positives to take away from the series against India which leaves them with a mountain of problems to address at the earliest. Their record against Bangladesh has been pretty decent to say the least as they are yet to lose a game against them. But that counts for very little considering the Bangladesh we’re talking about now. New Zealand will be very well aware of the challenge Bangladesh pose and won’t dare underestimate them. It is the same Bangladesh side that knocked the Black Caps out of the Champions Trophy an year back. With all that in mind, New Zealand will hope to settle the score once they meet newest nemesis at Napier.
In the absence of their prolific all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh might feel a little under prepared for Napier. This is not the last ODI series that they’ll play before the World Cup, but this probably is the only acid test they face before the showpiece event. Tamim Iqbal’s title winning 100 in the BPL final will only help them cope with Shakib’s absence. But Shakib’s role as a bowler seems unlikely to be filled up by any of Bangladesh’s top available options. Not just Napier, but the whole of New Zealand is yet to witness a Bangladesh victory, and Bangladesh will be itching to rewrite history, as they’ve been doing so often of late.
Injuries: Colin Munro and Ish Sodhi both haven’t been named in the squad after a long series against India.
Doubt: New Zealand’s struggle to create a team that can bat till number seven still continues as they go in to this series also with just five regular batsmen.
Questionable: Tim Southee might just get a start ahead of Lockie Ferguson.
Expected Changes: The same batting lineup that played against India will feature against Bangladesh with an almost identical bowling attack.
Injuries: Shakib Al Hasan’s absence due to an injury has become the biggest talk point before the start of the series.
Doubt: Sabbir Rahman coming in for Shakib Al Hasan is quite an obvious change.
Questionable: There is an uncertainty though about the fourth bowler spot which might have either of Shafiul Islam or Mohammad Saifuddin
Expected Changes: Sabbir Rahman in for Shakib Al Hasan with Mashrafe Mortaza leading the side.
Kane Williamson (C), Tom Latham (WK), Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Todd Astle, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson/Tim Southee
Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin/Shafiul Islam