A series clean sweep for Bangladesh as they prepare for an extended stay in Zimbabwe for the World Cup qualifiers.
The series result came somewhat out of the blue. Surely this Bangladesh team who had not played ODI since November 2019 would take time to settle into the series. Surely the home team would be fresh given recent encounters against Thailand, Ireland and the South Africa Emerging Players. Wrong on both counts.
The home team has played a substantial amount of cricket this calendar year – perhaps more than most – yet it must be remembered that this was still only their second official ODI series. That said, given the results they produced throughout the year, their form in this series was sadly lacking.
The batting was a disaster, never truly getting going at any point. The top run scorer was Modester Mupachikwa with just 48 from three innings. The highest scorer was Sharne Mayers with 39 in the final match. It was one of only three scores above 30 for the series. You can’t win cricket matches if you are not scoring runs.
Of great concern for Zimbabwe is the way the batters were dismissed, the bulk being LBW or bowled. That would suggest technical deficiencies when it comes to playing defensive shots. This will no doubt be a key area to work on in the next week before the qualifiers.
It is difficult to comment on the bowling because only six wickets were taken, three of them to Esther Mbofana, and the bowlers in each match were given so little to defend that it is not possible to make any substantive comment.
If we accept the raw data that says an unranked ODI team in Zimbabwe was up against eighth in the world would result in a comprehensive victory then it would be a fair assessment, but I don’t think Zimbabwe would accept that. There is too much talent in this team to allow a result like this. We will see Mary-Anne Musonda and her team bounce back in the qualifiers.
Rather than looking like a team that hadn’t played in two years, Bangladesh looked like a team that was told they wouldn’t play for another two years, such was the energy displayed in every aspect.
Given first use of the ball in every single match, the Bangladeshi bowlers brought their A game. It started with right-arm quick Jahanara Alam who only played the first two matches but looked fresh and fiery in each encounter and is bowling as well as ever.
Nahida Akter‘s left-arm slow bowling is the talk of the town. She took 11 wickets for the series at 4.81 and a best of 5-21 which is second all time for Bangladesh in ODIs. She is one of an army of left-arm slow bowlers rising up to dominate world cricket. Have a look. They’re everywhere. Pakistan is currently playing three. Australia has Jess Jonassen and Sophie Molineux. England, Sophie Ecclestone. These bowlers are dominating the rankings and the landscape. Nahida is one of that army.
Salma Khutan also had a good series, collect 5 wickets at 5.40 runs per wicket and there’s a lot to like about the new left-arm seamer Fariha Trisna who picked up 2-17 in impressive debut.
There is not a lot to say about the batting for the Bangladesh batters were not called on to do much. Highest run scorer for the series was Murshida Khatun with 97 runs at 97.00 with her 51 not out her highest score yet. Fargana Hoque also had a not out half century to her name.
All up, a great return to international cricket for Bangladesh and a learning experience for Zimbabwe. Both teams now head into the qualifiers starting next week.
* Photo: Zimbabwe Cricket