Venue – Harare Sports Club, Harare
Date: Saturday, July 30
The busy cricket touring season continues apace as Bangladesh has arrived in Zimbabwe for six matches over two formats of the game to take place during the next couple of weeks. The white ball specialists will be on show exclusively in Harare – the venue for all six contests – with the two countries first competing in three T20Is and then three ODIs.
This is a tour that has seen some changes after initially being announced as two Tests and three ODIs. This was changed soon after the initial announcement, with the shortest form of the game taking the place of the longest on this particular tour. Given the popularity of T20Is, it is not hard to see why the organizers came to this decision.
The team with momentum here is Bangladesh. They lost the Tests and T20Is to the West Indies in their most recent tour, but they then turned around and beat the Windies 3-0 on their own patch in the ODIs. While not of all those ODI players will be playing in the T20Is here, enough will be that the confidence should be high.
Zimbabwe also had a notable win this month as they qualified for the 2022 T20 World Cup by beating Papua New Guinea in their Global Qualifier B semi-final. They also beat the Netherlands in the final, a result that wasn’t as important given both finalists made the World Cup. Their series form, however, has not been as good, with them losing to Afghanistan last month in their most recent bilateral series.
The jo of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after missing out on the last two global events means that this Zimbabwe team is playing with house money here. Players such as all-rounder Wesley Madhevere and bowler Blessing Muzarabani are impressing enough in the format that they are beginning to be noticed at the world level.
One player that the hosts will be without here is bowler Tendai Chatara, a player who has been the rock of the bowling attack. He is missing with a broken collar bone and is in a fitness race ahead of the World Cup.
There is more cricket than ever being played around the world and it seems like you can barely look up this summer without a player announcing they are stepping down from one (or more) forms of the game to prolong their careers in other formats. That is the case for Bangladesh here, with ODI captain Tamim Iqbal having announced his retirement from the T20Is after Bangladesh’s ODI series win over the West Indies earlier this month.
Iqbal hadn’t played a T20I for Bangladesh since 2020 – ironically against Zimbabwe – but given his excellent ODI form there were many clamoring for his return to the format. In addition, regular skipper Mahmudulah has been rested for this series, with many pointing out his poor form is the actual reason he has been axed. Mushfiur Rahim is also out, while Shakib al Hasan isn’t part of the tour at all for personal reasons.
Bangladesh is the better team, but their T20I form has been awful. I do expect them to win, but those wanting to take a punt on Zimbabwe at 22/10 with BetXchange wouldn’t be throwing their money away given the Bangladeshi issues.