Before the start of the series, there was a stake that a series whitewash could have earned Bangladesh a promotion in the ICC ODI ranking to 6th position. That could give a boost to the sagging morale of the team tigers after not too successful Asia Cup mission.
The first match of the series was rain ruined with no result. Bangladesh lost the second match by a huge margin of 86 runs. Now it has become a topic of discussion whether Bangladesh can turn around and winning the 3rd ODI on 26th September avoid a series defeat. This black cap unit is a depleted team with only 5 of the world cup squad playing. True that Bangladesh also rested several of their potential world cup bound players. Possibly in the last match some of the first-choice team members will return. But that does not ensure a definite Bangladesh win to save the team from a series defeat.
With the all-important ICC World Cup now only couple of weeks away Bangladesh is still making final experiments for their 15-member squad. Possibly nothing needs doing about veterans Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riad. But the issues with top order and especially the openers remain a point to ponder. Tamim needs a cover and Litton is going through a prolonged bad patch. None of the players experiment could prove their quality. Should Bangladesh take a half-cooked opener for a major tournament or rely on stop gap arrangement like risking Mehedi Miraj in few matches or pushing Nazmul Hasan Shanto up the ladder occasionally? What happens if Tamim’s fitness becomes an issue for 9 matches that needs to be played over a short period? Bangladesh will need a third opener and that may be experimented even tomorrow. I do not think Bangladesh should at all bother about the reintroduction of Mahmudullah Riyad in the team. He is by far the best player in whatever position he is tasked to play. In his return innings of 49, he once again demonstrated his class and quality as head and shoulder above the rest. We believe Nasum and even Shekh Mahedi can also be in the squad. Now another question needs answering whether Bangladesh should include 5th pacer or an additional batsman to bolster the middle order batting. We believe Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Hasan Mahmood are all in good shape to lead reasonably strong Bangladesh pace attack. They will serve the purpose if their workload is managed smartly. The present issue is weak and uncertain batting. Bangladesh should include an additional batsman to strengthen batting. The squad can have additional seamer in the reserve anyway. In addition, the team should carry some players including Rishad Hossain at their own expense.
Now how Bangladesh can make some important changes for the 3rd and final match of the series. The SBNCS wicket did not change its character. It retained low, slow, gripping and turning nature. Bangladesh weakness against quality leg spin again got badly exposed from Ish Sodhi (6/39) carrying out open heart surgery. Bangladesh may not get Tamim and Litton for the last match. Shanto, Miraj and possibly Taskin and Shoriful may return. Captain Shakib should have played in the last match. We are not sure that may happen. We find no reason why Bangladesh cannot rock back and redeem themselves in the last match. Lot is at stake for Bangladesh tomorrow.
New Zealand rested most of the players of the World Cup squad for avoiding them burning out. Those who came had useful acclimatizing to south Asian Conditions. A series win will give them huge morale boost.
BDST: 0652 HRS, SEP 25, 2023