New Zealand vs Bangladesh 1st ODI: Preview & Predicted Playing XI
With an aim to maintain their unbeaten home run against Bangladesh, New Zealand will welcome the Tigers to the McLean Park in Napier for the opening fixture of the three-match ODI series on Wednesday, February 13.
The Tigers have never won an ODI on Kiwi shores but will bank on their recent form to rattle the hosts in their own den. The visitors are coming off impressive home wins against West Indies (2-1) and Zimbabwe (3-0), and look set for their maiden triumph over the Kiwis.
Bangladesh faced a major blow ahead of the series as they lost their key all-rounder in Shakib al Hasan to a finger injury and in his absence, they will need their openers Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar to provide them with a steady start.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah will bear the responsibility of keeping the middle order intact. Both struck half-centuries in the practice match against New Zealand XI and the visitors will want them to replicate that form against the senior side.
The onus will be on skipper Mashrafe Murtaza to use his experience and get a few scalps in the powerplay overs. Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan are Bangladesh's other key strike bowlers in the lineup.
Mehidy was the Tigers' leading wicket-taker in the previous ODI series against the West Indies with six wickets and he will be backed by his skipper to exploit the Kiwis' weakness against quality spin. Mustafizur is always a surprise package and has the ability to trouble the best of batsmen with his variations.
Expected Playing XI
Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mehidy Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (W), Sabbir Rahman, Mohammad Mithun and Mahmudullah.
On the flipside, the Kiwis are going through a turbulent phase in the fifty over format and have lost four out of eight games they've played this year. They whitewashed Sri Lanka (3-0), but found it difficult to deal with a buoyant Indian lineup and lost (1-4). However, their previous record against Bangladesh gives them the edge ahead of the clash.
After a poor show against India, Colin Munro has been dropped for the first two fixtures, while Martin Guptill, who was ruled out of the previous series due to injury, has replaced him in the squad.
Ross Taylor was the Kiwis' key batsman in the previous ODI series against India and is leading the run-charts for 2019 with 458 runs in eight outings. Skipper Kane Williamson has been their second best batsman with 294 runs this year. These two are likely to pose a major threat for the visitors.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee were New Zealand's spearheads in ODIs and T20Is respectively and played key roles in rattling the Indian lineup. Both these bowlers will be expected to bring that form against the Tigers and attain a few breakthroughs early on.
Mitchell Santner and Lockie Ferguson will be expected to slow down the scoring rate with a few tidy overs in the middle.
Expected Playing XI
Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (W), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls.