Tigers await one last roar

Bangladesh will not give Zimbabwe an inch concession as they seek 5-0 clean sweep when they take on the visitors in the fifth and final one-day international in Dhaka today. The match will pull down the curtain of the month-long home series which featured three Test matches and five ODIs. If Bangladesh come out victorious today, it will be only for the first time they will win all the matches of a full bilateral series. They came close to this feat only once when they won both the Tests and three ODIs in West Indies in 2009 but they lost the only Twenty20 International, which denied them a perfect result. Mushfiqur Rahim led the Tigers to a 3-0 sweep in Tests and taking over the helm from him Mashrafee bin Murtaza maintained the same intensity to win first four ODIs by a clear margin.

Bangladesh were favourites to win the ODI series 5-0 from the beginning, something they had done only once against the same opponent in 2006. Despite it was Bangladesh’s best chance to repeat the feat, skipper Mashrafee shunned 5-0 talks all the time and preferred to take it match-by-match. The prospect of 5-0 came to his mind only after the hosts completed the win in the penultimate fourth ODI. ‘Now I can’t say that we are taking it one by one,’ Mashrafee told reporters at Mirpur. ‘It is important to finish well. It is important to continue doing well and the players are taking it seriously. ‘All the players are confident after going up 4-0. Anything can happen in cricket but we have to be prepared to win and we will give our best,’ said Mashrafee. Mashrafee endorsed the recent experiment that saw Bangladesh toying with their options breaking the winning combination. The Tigers brought three changes to their lineup for the fourth ODI and a few more are on card for today’s game. Imrul Kayes is facing the chop to accommodate uncapped Soumya Sarker while Rubel Hossain will have to make the way for Taijul Islam.

‘We are bringing in capable players and they know their responsibilities, so I am hoping for good things,’ said Mashrafee, adding that he has full confidence in Soumya. ‘Soumya is a very effective bowler, and he can bowl in one spot regularly. Some people think that pace is very important in international cricket, but it is not always true,’ he said. ‘What he [Soumya] lacks in its pace, he makes up with line and length. If he plays tomorrow, I hope he can prove it. ‘I don’t want to make anyone feel inferior, but we had to pick someone among the all-rounders,’ said Mashrafee, referring Bangladesh’s failed adventure with Ziaur Rahman and Farhad Reza in the role.

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