New Zealand vs Bangladesh 1st T20I Preview: Can change of format bring change of fortune for Tigers
As both teams will be missing some of their big names, Bangladesh will try to leave behind the disappointment of the ODI series clean sweep and look to start afresh in the T20Is.
New Zealand will miss the services of Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Tim Seifert in the T20Is. The players have been rested in the lead-up to a hectic IPL season. Veteran medium pacer Tim Southee will lead the side. Bangladesh will also be without two of their big ticket players in captain Tamim Iqbal and gun all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
Bangladesh look to open account
After a lot of build-up and an extended run for Bangladesh to prepare and acclimatise to the conditions of Newzealand due to the quarantine restrictions before the beginning of the series. However, the result was along expected lines apart from the second ODI when Bangladesh gave the Kiwis a run for their money.
They were no match for New Zealand in the 3-match series and suffered a clean sweep.
Like in the ODIs, Bangladesh are yet to win a match in New Zealand after 16 attempts, the story in T20 cricket is not a lot different. Bangladesh and New Zealand have met in 7 T20 Internationals with the Kiwis winning each of them. The last time both teams came head to head against each other was at the Bay Oval in 2017 when New Zealand won by 27 runs.
Naim and Saifuddin to come in
Bangladesh will field a similar side as they did in ODIs in the absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Liton Das and Mohammad Naim will open the batting for the side. Das has shown a lot of promise at various times but is yet to convert it into performances. This series brings a huge opportunity for the opener, particularly in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup.
Soumya Sarkar's temperament makes him a lot more suited to T20 cricket and the batsman will have an opportunity to make the number three spot his own, at least in this format. Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah provide quality and smarts to the Bangladesh middle order.
Mohammad Mithun will look to continue his ODI form. The two Hasans, Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mahedi Hasan, will slot at number 7 and 8 and will provide heft to the team in the bowling department.
All-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin will also have to play a major role for Bangladesh to make a mark. Taskin Ahmed, the team's most impressive bowler on the tour and ace pacer Mustafizur Rahman will form their pace bowling attack.
Tigers need to field better
Bangladesh's fielding has been below-par in the ODI series and Mahmudullah, who has been given the responsibility of captaincy in the absence of Tamim Iqbal, stressed on its importance on the eve of the match.
'"Game awareness is very important for us in these conditions, as there is always some heavy wind and the balls travel very fast in the air and so the fielders need to be ready for the high and the flat catches. If the fielders are on alert and if we can capitalize those small chances in that particular moment, we can make a difference. The fielding blunders had let us down, but in the T20I series, if we can play aggressive cricket, then it is very much possible to defeat them."
Southee to lead, Allen and Young to feature
The New Zealand team will have a different look to it when they step out on the field for the T20I series. Finn Allen is the most exciting youngster in the side and can be slotted at number 3 after Devon Conway and Martin Guptill.
Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson will be the leading bowlers for the Kiwis, with Daryl Mitchell, fresh on the back of a century, set to be their leading all-rounder.
Here are the probable playing XIs:
New Zealand - Devon Conway (wk), Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee (c), Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne
Bangladesh - Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah (c), Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman
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