Having sealed a memorable Test win against Bangladesh last week, Zimbabwe will look to maintain the winning momentum when they take on Bangladesh in the first of the five-match Coca-Cola Challenge one-day international (ODI) cricket series at Harare Sports Club starting this morning.
Skipper Brendan Taylor and his charges will go into the match with their tails up and oozing with confidence after outplaying the tourists, who seemed to struggle under the local conditions.
The task will, however, not be easy as Bangladesh have enjoyed a good limited-overs record in Zimbabwe over the past few years since their breakthrough win in 2004.
Zimbabwe will, nevertheless, still be the slight favourites in this match if the poor performance by Shakib Al Hasan and his charges in the Test match are anything to go by.
With the starting team from the 15-man squad announced on Wednesday expected to be named this morning, one thing that is certain is that Taylor is set to revert to his opening role for the one-dayers.
Taylor was redeployed at number four for the Test match, scoring 176 runs in the match and is certain to play a key role in this series, with Vusi Sibanda expected to be his opening partner.
Hamilton Masakadza is set to come in at number three while wicketkeeper/batsman Taibu will come in at number four and together with Craig Ervine and all-rounder Elton Chigumbura they will form the backbone of Zimbabwe’s middle order.
Middle order batsman Forster Mtizwa, who dazzled with an unbeaten century in the warm-up match against the Bangladeshis prior to the Test match, looks set to add to his nine ODI caps.
Off-spinner Prosper Utseya, who has a good record in one-dayers, looks likely to make a return as the second spinner in the side with Ray Price.
Left-arm seamer Brian Vitori — who was a revelation in the Test match — looks set to make his ODI debut and is likely to share the new ball with Christopher Mpofu.
Meanwhile, opening batsman Chamu Chibhabha, who has been in and out of the team of late, is among the long list of players who are in the running for the International Cricket Council’s awards, which will be presented in London on September 12.
Chibhabha was nominated for Twenty20 International Performance of the Year for his 32-ball 52 against South Africa in Bloemfontein, South Africa, in October last year.
Other players who are in the reckoning for the same award include South Africans Graeme Smith and JP Duminy, Australian Shane Watson, England’s Tim Bresnan and New Zealander Tim Southee.
B Taylor, T Taibu, H Masakadza, V Sibanda, E Chigumbura, C Mpofu, B Vitori, K Jarvis, C Ervine, F Mtizwa, R Chakabva, T Chatara, M Waller, K Meth, P Utseya.
Recent Head-to-Head in Bangladesh
Bangladesh won 3-1 (ODIs, Dec 2010)
Bangladesh won 4-1 (ODIs, Oct/Nov 2009)
Recent Head-to-Head in Zimbabwe
Bangladesh won 4-1 (ODIs, Aug 2009)
Bangladesh won 3-1 (ODIs, Feb 2007)
Zimbabwe won 3-2 (ODIs, Jul/Aug 2006)