As Zimbabwe and Bangladesh face off it would be interesting to see how Zimbabwe fares if Bangladesh somehow manages to counter the batting and bowling of all-rounder Sikandar Raza. Bangladesh has found it tough to keep Raza quiet this year. The all-rounder smashed two fifties and two hundred against Bangladesh in the T20I series and ODI series respectively in July-August this year. He was the Player of the Series for both bilateral tournaments.
Fresh after their rip-roaring last-ball win over Pakistan in Perth on Thursday, Zimbabwe will lock horns with Bangladesh at the Gabba on Sunday in a Group 2 Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
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Zimbabwe gifted the cricket world a match for the ages as they stunned Pakistan by a run. The victory for the African nation meant that the team has three points from two matches and is only behind India and South Africa in Group 2. A semifinal spot for Zimbabwe looks tough at the moment but a win against Bangladesh will surely be a huge blow for Pakistan.
Meanwhile, lurking at the fourth spot in Group 2 are Bangladesh, who tasted a heavy defeat at the hands of South Africa on Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground. But if Bangladesh defeat Zimbabwe then the Shakib-al-Hasan-led side will climb to third place in the group.
But the Bangla Tigers won't have it easy against Zimbabwe. Craig Ervine's side would believe that anything is possible for them after shocking Pakistan. Ervine will again be counting on all-rounder Sikandar Raza to deliver goods for the team. Raza is playing like a man possed in this tournament and has scored 145 runs while also claiming 8 wickets. The 36-year-old has walked away with three Player of the Match awards in Zimbabwe's four completed matches.
While Raza has been the engine that has driven Zimbabwe ahead in this tournament, there have been efforts from other players as well. Wesley Madhevere has come up with brisk knocks at the top of the order. In the qualifying stage of the tournament, Ervine came up with a crucial fifty against Scotland. In the bowling department too, the likes of Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, and Richard Ngarava have chipped in with wickets giving Raza much-needed backup.
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It will be interesting to see how Zimbabwe fares and how Bangladesh try and counter the batting and bowling of Raza. Bangladesh has found it tough to keep Raza quiet this year. The all-rounder smashed two fifties and two hundred against Bangladesh in the T20I series and ODI series respectively in July-August this year. He was the Player of the Series for both bilateral tournaments.
Bangladesh bowlers would still be reeling from the aftereffects of the punishment meted out by the South African bowlers. But they can draw inspiration from the fact that fast bowler Taskin Ahmed's four-wicket spell against the Netherlands propelled the team to a historic win. Also senior fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman did not concede over 20 runs in the two completed spells against the Netherlands and South Africa.
Shakib has also been amongst the wickets. But it is the batsmen that has led the Asian team side in their two matches thus far. No Bangladesh batsman has gone past the 40-run mark thus far in the tournament.
Form Guide (last five matches)
Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Head to head
Matches played: 19
Zimbabwe wins: 7
Bangladesh wins: 12
This is the first match at the Gabba for this World Cup. Expect a freshly laid track for this contest. Teams batting first have won four out of the six T20Is in Brisbane, with 168 being the average first-innings score.
According to Accuweather the Sunday After in Brisbane will be warm with increasing cloudiness. But there is little threat of rain with the probability of precipitation only around 1 %. The afternoon temperature will be 31°C.
Zimbabwe possible XI: Wessley Madhevere, Craig Ervine (c), Milton Shumba, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (wk), Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Brad Evans, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani
Bangladesh possible XI: Soumya Sarkar, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Afif Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud
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Batsmen: Craig Ervine, Wessley Madhevere, Sean Williams
All-rounders: Shakib Al Hasan, Sikandar Raza
Wicketkeeper: Nurul Hasan
Bowlers: Taskin Ahmed, Blessing Muzarabani, Mustafizur Rahman, Brad Evans
Betting odds (bet 365)
Where to watch live
The match begins at 8.30 AM IST. In India, the match will be broadcast on the Star Sports Network. Online viewers can follow the live-action via Disney+Hotstar.
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)