New Zealand have a chance to seal the three-match ODI series in the second game at the Saxton Oval, but their opponents will not be willing to just keel over after having travelled so far. While Bangladesh were convincingly outplayed in Christchurch by 77 runs, their mentality as a team has changed significantly over the last two years and now they will need to cling to that positive approach in a crunch game away from home.
Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan will once again have to show the eagerness to fight against the short ball. Mosaddek Hossain, Imrul Kayes and Sabbir Rahman also looked relatively comfortable against that length in the series opener, but will have to be more patient in seeing themselves through the initial roughhousing.
Mushfiqur Rahim will be missed; he has been ruled out with a hamstring injury for at least two weeks. He will be replaced by debutant Nurul Hasan.
Bangladesh’s bigger concern will be their bowling in high-scoring Nelson, especially after they conceded 341 runs in the first game. Mashrafe Mortaza and his pace-bowling group have to bowl better lengths, while Shakib could be given a specialist spinner to partner given the slower nature of this pitch.
New Zealand will have to tackle the spin threat; some of them looked sluggish in their footwork in game one, others were a bit too eager. While Neil Broom and Jimmy Neesham played back to slightly fuller deliveries from Shakib, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill threw their hands too early at slower or angled deliveries, resulting in their dismissals.
They will be glad that Tom Latham is willing to anchor the innings, and that Colin Munro has the ability to enforce himself on an opposition attack even from a tricky position.
In the spotlight
After his blazing 87 in the first game, Colin Munro will be a person of interest for Bangladesh’s think-tank. Munro was quick to dispatch anything too short or too full, but he can expect new challenges in Nelson if Bangladesh can bowl more into his body.
Shakib Al Hasan was expensive with the ball but still got the breakthroughs. With the bat, he had better control though he only made 59. He handled the shorter length quite well up until the time Lockie Ferguson dismissed him with pace combined with awkward bounce.
New Zealand are unlikely to rest Tim Southee and Trent Boult at this stage, which would mean Matt Henry and Colin de Grandhomme would have to keep waiting for their turn.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Neil Broom, 5 James Neesham, 6 Colin Munro, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Trent Boult
Keeper Nurul Hasan has replaced Mushfiqur Rahim, whose absence will be felt more in the middle order. Bangladesh could also be looking at either Mehedi Hasan or Tanbir Hayder to add to their bowling line-up on a relatively slower Nelson pitch, with Soumya Sarkar most at risk of losing his place.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mahmudullah, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Sabbir Rahman, 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Mehedi Hasan/Tanbir Hayder, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Taskin Ahmed
Pitch and conditions
The Saxton Oval pitch is regarded slower than most in New Zealand. Still, the stats favour the team batting second; in the six completed ODIs here, five teams, including Bangladesh, have chased successfully. In the previous completed game here, 12 months ago, Sri Lanka eclipsed New Zealand’s 276 with 22 balls to spare.
Stats and trivia
Nurul Hasan will become the fifth wicketkeeper to debut in ODIs for Bangladesh after Mushfiqur Rahim in 2006. Dhiman Ghosh, Jahurul Islam, Anamul Haque and Liton Das all came in as replacements when Mushfiqur got injured at different stages
New Zealand have won two out of their four matches at the Saxton Oval, lost one, and one has been a no-result.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo