DHAKA — No matter the circumstances, there has always been a recurring theme in this series. Zimbabwe lose a game, fight back harder in the next, but Bangladesh somehow just strive to stay on top.
There is every chance Bangladesh might take their foot off the pedal sitting on a 4-0 lead, but then again, there is also every chance that Zimbabwe, completely sapped of their confidence following the whitewash in the Tests and the defeats in the ODIs, have already lost hope.
With nothing except pride and records to play for, both teams will look to make more use of their reserves.
Soumya Sarkar, a seam-bowling allrounder, has been added to Bangladesh’s squad. He is, however, unlikely to bat in his usual opening position as Bangladesh would not want to disrupt the momentum of Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque.
Sarkar would possibly bat down the order and be picked as a third seamer.
Bangladesh have had a lot of positives from this series, starting right from Tamim and Anamul. Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan have been regular contributors, but the most eye-catching has been Mahmudullah’s return to form.
Mominul Haque has been shifted around and rested, but his replacement Imrul Kayes failed to make most of the opportunity in the fourth ODI.
Sabbir Rahman has scored on and off, so there will be expectations for him to finish well.
Arafat Sunny is no longer part of the squad, perhaps being prepared for the World Cup.
Bangladesh have unsurprisingly been comfortable on the spinning front, but there is still scope for improvement from their seamers, as none apart from Al-Amin Hossain have been able to create an impression.
For the visitors, Brendan Taylor, Elton Chigumbura and Solomon Mire are the only players to have scored more than 100 runs. They have looked the most confident too.
The likes of Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda have promised much, but delivered little. With the ball, Tinashe Panyangara has been effective while Tafadzwa Kamungozi’s discipline has been quite impressive.
Mire and Neville Madziva have had good spells at the top, but they have struggled in the last ten overs.
Zimbabwe will ultimately need improvements in all departments if they are to clinch a much-needed morale-boosting victory.