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Bangladesh chases another home series win

We weren’t surprised at all, says Behardien as South Africa looks to hit back after poor performance in second ODI

Bangladesh chases another home series win - Cricket News
Bangladesh celebrates a wicket.
Bangladesh has made big headlines with its One-Day International performances recently, beating Pakistan first and then India in bilateral series following a quarter-final appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. It can add to those when it takes on South Africa in the decisive game at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday (July 15), with the three-ODI series level at 1-1.

Having lost the opening game – after conceding the Twenty20 International series 2-0 – by eight wickets, Bangladesh rediscovered the touch that took ut to 3-0 and 2-1 wins against Pakistan and India respectively. On Sunday, in the second game, it beat South Africa, by seven wickets, for only the second time in ODIs, and while its ICC Champions Trophy 2017 spot has been sealed, a series victory would be a huge boost. 

“We weren’t surprised at all,” said Farhaan Behardien when asked about Bangladesh’s show in the second ODI. “The way they have been playing in the last month against Pakistan and India has been good. It was not a surprise at all; we know what they are capable of.” 

The first two ODIs, which were played on the slow pitches of Dhaka, followed a similar pattern. The team batting first was bowled out for a meagre total, and the side chasing batted with great comfort to notch up wins. As the series moves to Chittagong for the finale, the teams would hope for a better batting surface.

If that happens, it would be a test for the batsmen from both the teams. In the absence of AB de Villiers, South Africa will be looking to its other senior players to step up, and Quinton de Kock’s poor form – the opener has just 37 runs from the two ODIs and scored 56 runs in the two T20Is – would also be a cause of concern. 

Its 162 in the second ODI was South Africa’s lowest total in seven matches batting first against Bangladesh, and it will feel it can easily regroup and lift its game come Wednesday.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, suffered from lack of partnerships in the opening ODI, but half-centuries from Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah helped it overcome the early jitters on Sunday in the second game.

The bowlers from either side have been impressive, and there should not be too many worries in that department.

However, Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, was wary of the fact that if his bowlers were to have an off day, there might be too much pressure on the batsmen. “We might not be very clinical in bowling in our next game and this is something our batsmen should take note of and live up to that challenge,” he said.

With yet another ODI series win in sight for Bangladesh, and South Africa certain to not let go of the series without having a big say, it could prove to be a riveting contest provided the weather holds up. 

Teams (from)

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Litton Das, Arafat Sunny, Jubair Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman. 

South Africa: Hashim Amla (capt), Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Farhaan Behardien, Eddie Leie, Ryan McLaren.

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